3 Nephi 20-22 – The events prophesied in these chapters, including the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the establishment of the Church in the last days, are evidence that the Lord’s kindness will not depart from His people. The gathering of the Lord’s people in the last days reveals that He will have mercy on them with “everlasting kindness” (see 3 Nephi 22:8–10) and that He will bring them “home to the land of their inheritance” (3 Nephi 21:28).
3 Nephi 20
VS1 -We Should Continually Pray in Our Hearts
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught:
“Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind, in your heart. Pray on your knees. …
“Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil [see Revelation 3:20]” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 76–77; orEnsign, Nov. 1994, 59).
VS8–9 – The Sacramental Promise of Being Filled with the Spirit
1. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Attendance at church each week provides the opportunity to partake of the sacrament, as the Lord has commanded us (see D&C 59:9). If we act with the right preparation and attitude, partaking of the sacrament renews the cleansing effect of our baptismand qualifies us for the promise that we will always have His Spirit to be with us. A mission of that Spirit, the Holy Ghost, is to testify of the Father and the Son and to lead us into truth (see John 14:26; 2 Nephi 31:18). Testimony and truth, which are essential to our personal conversion, are the choice harvest of this weekly renewing of our covenants. In the day-to-day decisions of my life and in my personal spiritual growth, I have enjoyed the fulfillment of that promise” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2002, 38; or Ensign,May 2002, 34).
2. Elder Oaks also counseled: “Let us qualify ourselves for our Savior’s promise that by partaking of the sacrament we will ‘be filled’ (3 Nephi 20:8; see also 3 Nephi 18:9), which means that we will be ‘filled with the Spirit’ (3 Nephi 20:9). That Spirit—the Holy Ghost—is our comforter, our direction finder, our communicator, our interpreter, our witness, and our purifier—our infallible guide and sanctifier for our mortal journey toward eternal life” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 82; or Ensign,Nov. 1996, 61).
VS11–13 – Isaiah Wrote of the Gathering of Israel; Jesus promised they would be gathered and brought to the knowledge of the Lord.
History of the scattering of Israel: https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/images/gospel-library/manual/32506/32506_000_057_09-history.pdf
1. Jesus commanded the Nephites, as well as us, to search the words of Isaiah. As we see the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies, we will know that God is keeping His covenant with the house of Israel. The Bible Dictionary explains that “the bulk of Isaiah’s prophecies deal with the coming of the Redeemer” (“Isaiah,” 707). The scattering and the gathering of Israel are also two of Isaiah’s major themes. Teachings of the Redeemer and the gathering of Israel are closely related. God scattered Israel because they sinned and rejected Him. The Atonement, however, provides them a chance to be reconciled to God, to have their sins remitted, and to be gathered to Him both spiritually and physically.
2. President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) explained that by accepting the gospel covenant, we comply with the law of the gathering: “Now, the gathering of Israel consists of joining the true church and their coming to a knowledge of the true God. … Any person, therefore, who has accepted the restored gospel, and who now seeks to worship the Lord in his own tongue and with the Saints in the nations where he lives, has complied with the law of the gathering of Israel and is heir to all of the blessings promised the Saints in these last days” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,ed. Edward L. Kimball , 439).
3. In the early days of the Church, leaders encouraged converts to join with the Saints in central places, such as Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Utah. Today the Saints are instructed to build up the Church where they live:
“In our day, the Lord has seen fit to provide the blessings of the gospel, including an increased number of temples, in many parts of the world. Therefore, we wish to reiterate the long-standing counsel to members of the Church to remain in their homelands rather than immigrate to the United States. …
“As members throughout the world remain in their homelands, working to build the Church in their native countries, great blessings will come to them personally and to the Church collectively” (First Presidency letter, Dec. 1, 1999; see also Dieter F. Uchtdorf, in Conference Report, Oct. 2005, 106; or Ensign, Nov. 2005, 102).
4. Elder Douglas L. Callister of the Seventy described the purposes and processes of Israel’s gathering in the last days: “Our present gathering is primarily spiritual, not geographic. Christ declared that in the latter-days He would ‘establish [His] church,’ ‘establish [His] people,’ and ‘establish … among them [His] Zion’ (3 Ne. 21:22; 3 Ne. 20:21; 3 Ne. 21:1). As He establishes His Church in our day, people can be taught the gospel and be ‘brought to the knowledge of the Lord their God’ (3 Ne. 20:13) without leaving their homes. In contrast to the pronouncements during the early days of the restored Church, our leaders have decreed that now the gathering should take place within each land and among every tongue. Our need to be physically near large numbers of Saints is less than it was a century ago because Church magazines and satellite transmissions bridge distance and time, creating a sense of oneness throughout the entire Church. All have access to the same keys, ordinances, doctrine, and spiritual gifts” (“Book of MormonPrinciples: The Gathering of the Lord’s Faithful,”Ensign,Oct. 2004, 59).
VS14, 22 – A Land of Inheritance
Jesus taught the Nephites that Heavenly Father gave them the land of America as an inheritance. Lehi also had received this promise when he arrived in the promised land (see 2 Nephi 1:5). This confirmed the blessing that Jacob gave to Joseph when he said, “The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills” (Genesis 49:26). The phrase “utmost bound of the everlasting hills” refers to the Western Hemisphere. President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) explained: “The Lord gave … America, as an everlasting possession to Joseph, the son of Jacob. His posterity, when cleansed from sin, and when they come forth in the resurrection, shall inherit this part of the earth. This land shall be theirs forever” (Doctrines of Salvation,comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:88).
VS16 -“As a young lion among the flocks of sheep”
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “These words of our Lord to the Nephites are quoted from Micah5:8–9 and have reference to the desolations and ultimate burning that shall destroy the wicked at the Second Coming. Except for a few who are the humble followers of Christ, the Gentiles will not repent. They will revel in their abominations and sin against the restored gospel, and they will be burned by the brightness of our Lord’s coming while the righteous—here called the remnant of Jacob—shall abide the day. And then, in the prophetic imagery, it will be as though the remnant of Israel overthrew their enemies as a young lion among the flocks of sheep” (The Millennial Messiah: The SecondComing of the Son of Man , 248).
- Zion, the New Jerusalem, is to be a place of safety, both physically and spiritually. The Savior, in speaking of the last days, counseled us to “stand in holy places” (see D&C 45:32) and promised us safety in Zion and in her stakes (see D&C 115:6). The Savior taught His disciples that the city of Zion, the New Jerusalem, would be “a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety” in the time leading up to the Second Coming (see D&C 45:66–71).
- The tenth article of faith states: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.”
- On another occasion, the Prophet Joseph Smith(1805–44) taught: “The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; … it is left for us to see, participate in and help to roll forward the Latter-day glory, ‘the dispensation of the fullness of times. …’ A work that is destined to bring about the destruction of the powers of darkness, the renovation of the earth, the glory of God, and the salvation of the human family” (History of the Church,4:609–10).
- D&C45 – 66 And it shall be called the aNew Jerusalem, a bland of cpeace, a city of drefuge, a place of esafety for the saints of the Most High God;
70 And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are aterrible; wherefore we cannot stand.
VS22 – God Will Dwell in Our Midst
While teaching the Nephites about Zion or the New Jerusalem, the Savior promised that He would “be in the midst” of His people (3 Nephi 20:22). The Lord used a similar phrase in the Doctrine and Covenants:
“But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me;
“But the day soon cometh that ye shall see me, and know that I am; for the veil of darkness shall soon be rent, and he that is not purified shall not abide the day.
“Wherefore, gird up your loins and be prepared” (D&C 38:7–9).
The promise that God will dwell in the midst of Zion can have reference to Him being in the temple in Zion (the New Jerusalem) and that “all the pure in heart that shall come into [the temple] shall see God” (see D&C 97:16).
VS23–24 -“A Prophet Shall the Lord Your God Raise Up”
In Deuteronomy 18:15Mosesprophesied that one day in the future “the Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto” Moses. In 3 Nephi 20:23–24 the Savior identified Himself as that Prophet. This is such a significant prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah that it can be found in the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price (see Deuteronomy 18:15–19; Acts 3:22;3 Nephi 20:23–24; D&C 133:63; Joseph Smith—History 1:40).
VS25–27 – Becoming Children of the Covenant
1. Elder Russell M. Nelson explained: “The covenant that the Lord first made with Abraham and reaffirmed with Isaac and Jacob is of transcendent significance. …
“We are also children of the covenant. We have received, as did they of old, the holy priesthood and the everlasting gospel. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are our ancestors. We are of Israel. We have the right to receive the gospel, blessings of the priesthood, and eternal life. Nations of the earth will be blessed by our efforts and by the labors of our posterity. The literal seed of Abraham and those who are gathered into his family by adoption receive these promised blessings—predicated upon acceptance of the Lord and obedience to his commandments” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 42–43; or Ensign, May 1995, 33).
2. Russell M.Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us. His law is written in our hearts. He is our God and we are His people. Committed children of the covenant remain steadfast, even in the midst of adversity. When that doctrine is deeply implanted in our hearts, even the sting of death is soothed and our spiritual stamina is strengthened” (“Covenants,”Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 88).
3. Elder David A.Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles affirmed our duty to share the gospel with others:
“You and I, today and always, are to bless all peoples in all the nations of the earth. You and I, today and always, are to bear witness of Jesus Christ and declare the message of the Restoration. You and I, today and always, are to invite all to receive the ordinances of salvation. Proclaiming the gospel is not a part-time priesthood obligation. It is not simply an activity in which we engage for a limited time or an assignment we must complete as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rather, missionary work is a manifestation of our spiritual identity and heritage. We were foreordained in the premortal existence and born into mortality to fulfill the covenant and promise God made to Abraham. We are here upon the earth at this time to magnify the priesthood and to preach the gospel. That is who we are, and that is why we are here—today and always” (“Becoming a Missionary,”Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 47).
Q – How can we be missionaries every day?
VS29–33 – The Jews Will Believe and Be Gathered
- Concerning the restoration of Judah, the Prophet Joseph Smith testified: “Judah must return, Jerusalem be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple, &c.; and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance” (History of the Church,5:337).
- President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988) of the First Presidency spoke of the gathering of Judah. He read selections from the Book of Mormon that teach what the Jews must do before the Father will gather them to the land of their inheritance. From these selections we learn that when the Jews “no more turn aside their hearts against the Holy One of Israel” (1 Nephi 19:15); when they “come to the knowledge of their Redeemer” (2 Nephi 6:11); when they “shall be restored to the true church and fold of God” (2 Nephi 9:2); when they “believe in me, that I am Christ” (2 Nephi 10:7); when they believe that Christ is the Son of God and believe in the Atonement and “worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, and look not forward any more for another Messiah” (2 Nephi 25:16); when “the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them” and they “shall pray unto the Father in [the Savior’s] name” (3 Nephi 20:30–31), thenthey will be gathered to Jerusalem, the land of their inheritance. “These predictions by the Book of Mormon prophets make it perfectly clear that the restoration of the house of Israel to the lands of their inheritance will signal their acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Redeemer, to which I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1981, 21; see also pages 19–20; or Ensign,May 1981, 17; see also page 16).
VS35 – God Will Make Bare His Holy Arm
- What is the meaning of the phrase “the Father hath made bare his holy arm”? (3 Nephi 20:35). “In ancient times, men prepared for battle by throwing their cloak away from the shoulder of their fighting arm (Ps. 74:11). At the second coming of Christ, God will make bare his arm when he shows forth his power for all to see (D&C 133:2–3)” (Donald W. Parry, Jay A. Parry, Tina M. Peterson, Understanding Isaiah, 466).
- In our day the Lord reveals His power in the great latter-day work of the Restoration. Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that this is true today just as it was during the great events of the early days of the Church: “Now, my brethren, ‘these are [your] days’ (Helaman 7:9) in the history of the Church. Mark well what kind of days they will be, days when, with special visibility, the Lord will ‘make bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations’ (D&C 133:3). God will also ‘hasten’ His work (D&C 88:73). He will also ‘shorten’ the last days ‘for the elect’s sake’ (Matthew 24:22); hence, there will be a compression of events (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:20). Furthermore, ‘all things shall be in commotion’ (D&C 88:91). Only those in the process of becoming the men and women of Christ will be able to keep their spiritual balance” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 57; or Ensign,May 1992, 39).
VS36–37 – “Put on Thy Strength” and “Loose Thyself from the Bands of Thy Neck”
- Doctrine and Covenants 113explains that the phrase “put on thy strength” means that latter-day priesthood holders will “put on the authority of the priesthood, which [they have] a right to by lineage” (D&C 113:7–8). “The bands of [thy] neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles” (D&C 113:10).
- Speaking of the eventual movement toward the millennial era, Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained the Savior’s words: “We have already seen that Jesus put chapter 52 of Isaiah in a millennial context. In it is found the cry: ‘Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.’ In the day of which we speak there will be none who are unclean in the telestial sense of the word, for the wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming. And there will be none who are uncircumcised, as it were, for all who seek the blessings of the Holy City will be in harmony with the plans and purposes of Him whose city it is” (Millennial Messiah,315).
VS40 – “How Beautiful upon the Mountains”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that this wonderfully descriptive phrase, “how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings unto them, that publisheth peace,” refers to those who spread the Lord’s gospel, but that it more specifically refers to the Savior Himself: “These familiar passages, written first by Isaiah but spoken of and inspired by Jehovah himself, are often applied to anyone—especially missionaries—who bring the good tidings of the gospel and publish peace to the souls of men. There is nothing inappropriate about such an application, but it is important to realize—as the prophet Abinadi did—that in its purest form and original sense, this psalm of appreciation applies specifically to Christ. It is he and only he who ultimately brings the good tidings of salvation. Only through him is true, lasting peace published. To Zion, in both the old and new Jerusalems, it is Christ who declares, ‘Thy God reigneth!’ It is his feet upon the mountain of redemption that are beautiful’ [3 Nephi 20:40]” (Christ and the New Covenant, 286).
VS41 -“Be Ye Clean That Bear the Vessels of the Lord”
The injunction “be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord” (3 Nephi 20:41), given to those in ancient times who handled sacred vessels of worship, applies to modern priesthood holders as well. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) reminded a gathering of the priesthood of this important command when he said: “‘Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord’ (D&C 133:5). Thus has He spoken to us in modern revelation. Be clean in body. Be clean in mind. Be clean in language. Be clean in dress and manner” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 68; or Ensign,May 1996, 48).
3 Nephi 21
VS2 – “these things which I declare unto you” refers to the Book of Mormon.
Elder C. Scott Grow of the Seventy: “Jesus Christ gave us the Book of Mormon as the instrument to gather scattered Israel [see 3 Nephi 21:7]. …
“The Book of Mormon is its own witness to the people of Latin America and of all nations. Its very coming forth in these latter days bears witness that God has once again begun to gather scattered Israel. …
“… The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is the means whereby people from all nations shall be gathered into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (in Conference Report,Oct. 2005, 35–36; or Ensign, Nov. 2005, 35; italics in original).
Q – How has the Book of Mormon helped you come unto Christ? How can we use the Book of Mormon as we participate with Heavenly Father in the gathering of His children?
VS1–9 -The Latter-day Gathering of Israel
1. Jesus told the Nephites He would give them “a sign” (3 Nephi 21:1) so they would know when the gathering of Israel had begun. He then foretold the Restoration of the gospel, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the establishment of a free nation in America, and the taking of the gospel to their seed (see verses 1–7). He called the Restoration of the latter days “a great and a marvelous work” (see verse 9). In the early days of the Restoration, the Savior said “a marvelous work is about to come forth” (see D&C 4:1).
2. President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of the miracle of the Restoration and of our responsibility to help move the work forward:
“This glorious gospel was ushered in with the appearance of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph. The dawn of the dispensation of the fulness of times rose upon the world. All of the good, the beautiful, the divine of all previous dispensations was restored in this most remarkable season. …
“Do we really comprehend, do we understand the tremendous significance of that which we have? …
“We of this generation are the end harvest of all that has gone before. It is not enough to simply be known as a member of this Church. A solemn obligation rests upon us. Let us face it and work at it.
“We must live as true followers of the Christ, with charity toward all, returning good for evil, teaching by example the ways of the Lord, and accomplishing the vast service He has outlined for us” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2004, 84–85; or Ensign, May 2004, 83–84).
VS9-11 – Servant
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles identified the“servant” in these verses as Joseph Smith (see Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon , 287–88).
VS11 – Consequences of unbelief in Jesus Christ
VS22 – “I will establish my church among them”
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “No one is ever gathered with Israel until they accept the Crucified One. … The present gathering of the Jews to Palestine is political, not spiritual, and it is not the gathering of Israel of which the prophecies speak.
“The gathering of Israel consists of joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which church is the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (A New Witness for theArticles of Faith , 564, 565; see also pages 511, 519–20 andThe Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, 229).
The Savior quoted Isaiah 54 in its entirety to further teach concerning the gathering of Israel. Using imagery that is common in prophetic writing, Isaiah personified Israel as a woman whose husband is the Lord. Though forsaken for a time because of wickedness, the day will come when she shall be reconciled to her “Husband” with great mercy. Using this imagery, Isaiah portrayed beautifully the unfolding miracle of the Restoration. He promised that as the number of her children increased, her tent would need to be enlarged and her stakes strengthened to accommodate her growing family (see 3 Nephi 22:1–3). The sacred commitment of the marriage covenant is brought to mind as the Lord declared the depth of His commitment to Israel (see verses 4–10). Israel is promised places of safety and beauty (see verses 11–12) and protection from her enemies (see verses 13–17).
VS2 – “Enlarge the place of thy tent”
Anciently, when people wanted to make a small tent larger, they pulled up the stakes, moved them farther from the center pole, and added more stakes—thus creating additional space beneath the tent. Thisis what was meant by lengthening the cords and strengthening the stakes.
1. President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), the 13th President of the Church:
“The term stake is a symbolic expression. Picture in your mind a great tent held up by cords extended to many stakes that are firmly secured in the ground. The prophets likened latter-day Zion to agreat tent encompassing the earth. The tent was supported by cords fastened to stakes. Those stakes, of course, are various geographical organizations spread out over the earth. Presently, Israel is being gathered to the various stakes of Zion” (“StrengthenThy Stakes,” Ensign, Jan. 1991, 2).
Q – How are stakes of the Church like the stakes of an ancient tent?
VS4-10 – Husband (Christ) merciful and kind to bride (scattered Israel)
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Even though there has been barrenness and sometimes unfaithfulness, yet will the husband (Christ) reclaim and redeem his bride (Israel). The imagery of Jehovah as bridegroom and Israel as bride is among the most commonly used metaphors in scripture, being used by the Lord and his prophets to describe the relationship between Deity and the children of the covenant.“… Christ has, on occasion, been rightfully angry with backsliding Israel, but that has always been brief and temporary—‘a small moment.’ Compassion and mercy always return and prevail in a most reassuring way. The mountains and the hills may disappear. The water of the great seas may dry up. The least likely things in the world may happen, but the Lord’s kindness and peace will never be taken from his covenant people. He has sworn with a heavenly oath that he will not be wroth with them forever” (Christ and the New Covenant, 290).
Q – What evidences of the Savior’s mercy and kindness have you seen in your life? How can having a knowledge of the Savior’s mercy and kindness influence our faithfulness to covenants?
Q – How is Christ the perfect husband? (ex: righteous example, provides love, material needs, comfort and protection for His church)
VS13 – “Thy Children Shall Be Taught of the Lord”
While serving as the general president of the Primary, Sister Patricia P. Pinegar explained: “The world is not a safe place. It is not a place where children will feel peace, hope, and direction unless they are taught to love and follow the Savior. Please help them know that these great blessings can be theirs, and show them what they need to do to receive these blessings” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1999, 85; orEnsign,Nov. 1999, 68).
Q – How do you teach your children of the Lord?
VS17 – “No Weapon That Is Formed against Thee Shall Prosper”
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught:
“As surely as this is the work of the Lord, there will be opposition. There will be those, perhaps not a few, who with the sophistry of beguiling words and clever design will spread doubt and seek to undermine the foundation on which this cause is established. They will have their brief day in the sun. They may have for a brief season the plaudits of the doubters and the skeptics and the critics. But they will fade and be forgotten as have their kind in the past.
“Meanwhile, we shall go forward, regardless of their criticism, aware of but undeterred by their statements and actions” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 76; or Ensign, May 1994, 60).