“This Is My Gospel”
Book of Mormon Lesson 42
3 Nephi 27-30; 4 Nephi
JESUS ORGANIZES A CHURCH
Jesus formed a "church of Christ" among those Nephites who had seen and heard Him (3 Nephi 26:17–21). These were a Zion people, teaching and ministering to each other and having "all things common among them."
JESUS BLESSES HIS TWELVE NEPHITE DISCIPLES
Three Nephite Disciples Ask to Remain on Earth
Before the Savior left his disciples, he asked them what each desired of him (3 Nephi 28:1). Nine of them asked that after they had lived to old age that their ministries "may have an end, that we may come unto thee in thy kingdom" (3 Nephi 28:2–3). The three others did not dare ask, but the Lord knew that they wanted to remain on earth until his return so they could continue to bring souls unto Christ (3 Nephi 28:7–9).
Mormon, as he abridged the Nephite record, was about to write the names of the three but was stopped by the Spirit (v. 25). But Mormon testified that he had seen these three Nephites and they had ministered unto him (v. 26).
—They will be among the Gentiles, who will not know who they are (v. 27).
—They will be among the Jews, who will also not know who they are (v. 28).
—They will eventually minister to all of the scattered tribes of Israel (v. 29).
—They will minister unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people (v. 29).
—Like angels, they can show themselves to whomever they choose (v. 30).
—"Great and marvelous works shall be wrought by them" (v. 31).
4 NEPHI: FROM ZION TO DESTRUCTION
—4 Nephi covers 285 years—almost 1/3 of all the years covered in the entire Book of Mormon.
—4 Nephi contains Mormon's abridgment of about 300 years of history.
—Those 300 years are condensed into four pages—a single chapter of 49 verses.
—The original history from which he abridged 4 Nephi was written by four men: Nephi, who was one of the Savior's twelve Nephite disciples; Nephi's son Amos; and Amos's sons Amos and Ammaron.
The Nephites declined rapidly after 200 A.D—The 4th generation (4 Nephi 1:25–44).
—Churches that professed to know Christ but denied most of His gospel (vv. 26–29, 34).
—Churches built up to help people get gain (vv. 26–29, 41).
—Hard-heartedness (v. 31).
—Persecution of Christ's followers (vv. 29–34).
—Parents teaching children not to believe in Christ (v. 38).
—Parents teaching children to hate (v. 39).
—Secret combinations set up to get power and gain (vv. 42, 46).
—As a result of these developments, we are told that the three Nephite disciples began "to sorrow for the sins of the people" (v. 44).
After 300 years, the entire society became wicked (4 Nephi 1:45–46). Gadianton terrorists "spread over all the face of the land" and "there were none that were righteous save it were the disciples of Jesus" (v. 46).
The records were placed in the hands of Ammaron, who buried them in the earth (4 Nephi 1:47–49). His intention was to protect them "that they might come again unto the remnant of the house of Jacob" (v. 49).
And with that notation, the record that had been kept for 1,000 years on the large plates of Nephi came to an end. Everything else that we have available to us in the Book of Mormon came from the personal writings of Mormon and Moroni, and from the record of the Jaredites.
1. Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 3:319–320.
2. Ensign, November 1996, 53.
This material is taken from the Making Precious Things Plain study guides for the Book of Mormon by Randal S. Chase.
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