3 Ne 20:3 he brake bread again and blessed it
On the second day of Christ's visit, the multitude was unnumbered but presumed to be very great. The ordinance of the sacrament is repeated for the benefit of all those who did not partake on the first day.
3 Ne 20:7 he truly gave unto them bread to eat, and also wine to drink
On day 1 of Christ's visit, he said, I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem (3 Ne 17:8). He subsequently healed their sick one by one. On day 2, the Savior showed them something else that he had done in the Old World, for he literally gave them bread and wine in a way as miraculous as when he multiplied loaves and fishes in the Old World. This time he did not command the disciples to go get some bread and wine (3 Ne 18:1). Nor did he test them by asking, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? (Jn 6:5). Nor did he require one loaf and one cup of wine to perform the miracle. He simply gave them bread and wine. We can only imagine the response of the multitude. Like their Old World counterparts, they likely thought, Lord, evermore give us this bread (Jn 6:33).
3 Ne 20:8 his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled
The Savior's teachings could not be complete without teaching them that doctrine which was so hard for the Old World Jews to comprehend, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (Jn 6:35). This doctrine is a glorious addition to that of the Beatitudes. The Lord is giving the secret for those who really hunger and thirst after righteousness, for the promise is-not only will they be filled, but they shall never hunger nor thirst again!
Bruce C. Hafen
"Our assimilating this sense of the Atonement into our souls, symbolized by the physical assimilation of eating and drinking the sacramental bread and water, creates a spiritual umbilical cord between Christ and the children of Christ. He spoke of this life-giving nourishment in the teachings of the last supper: 'I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.' (John 15:5.) And the sustenance of this 'true vine' (John 15:1) will bless us with 'the fruit of the spirit,' which includes both hope and the gift of charity, along with 'joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, . . . faith, [and] meekness.' (Galatians 5:22.)" (The Belonging Heart, p. 147)
Henry B. Eyring
"I pray that you and I will make the choices today and tomorrow and as long as we live that will bring the influence of the Holy Ghost into our lives in the service of the Master. I testify that as we do, we will feel the cleansing that comes through the Savior's atonement, and with it the confidence that we are coming unto him. And when we are there, with him and sanctified, we shall never hunger or thirst again." (To Draw Closer to God, p. 58 - 59)
3 Ne 20:10 now I finish the commandment which the Father hath commanded me
The Savior is referring to the commandment received of the Father to warn the Gentiles of the last days. This theme was taught in 3 Nephi 16:8-20, but he could not continue because they were weak in understanding (3 Ne 17:2). The Savior had more to say and he did not fulfill this commandment until all of his sermon (comprising 3 Nephi 20-22) was given. The amount of time he gave to this topic and the Father's specific commands regarding it underscores its importance.
3 Ne 20:11 ye have [the words of Isaiah] before you, therefore search them
"The book of Isaiah was the only book of the ancient prophets the resurrected Savior specifically commanded the Nephites to search.
"The Savior said, 'Ye remember that I spake unto you, and said that when the words of Isaiah should be fulfilled - behold they are written, ye have them before you, therefore search them...' (3 Ne. 20:11.) Further, He declared, 'And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.' (3 Ne. 23:1.)
"Monte S. Nyman, in his book, Great Are the Words of Isaiah, wrote: 'That the commandment was to be extended to the latter days, and especially to the readers of the Book of Mormon, is shown by the Savior's charge to the Nephites to record His words so that they could go forth unto the Gentiles: Therefore, give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles. (3 Ne. 23:4.)'" (Church News, 06/30/90)
"'Great are the words of Isaiah!' We have been commanded to search them, study them, ponder them, take them to heart, and understand that the calamities and the blessings therein are meant for our own generation. May the words of this great prophet prepare us for these calamities and blessings." (Old Testament and Related Studies, p. 237)
3 Ne 20:14-28 I give unto you this land
In discussing the events of the last days, the Savior divides his remarks into three sections. The first, verses 14-28, is addressed primarily to those of the New World: the kingdom of God in the latter days, the Gentiles of the New World, and the New Jerusalem. The second section, verses 29-35, is addressed to those of the Old World: the restoration of Jerusalem and the conversion of some of the Old World Jews. The third section, verses 36-46, is addressed to those on both sides of the Atlantic: to those of the house of Israel, whether adopted or not, whether New World or Old World. This key has important implications, particularly for understanding the prophecies related to the first section.
3 Ne 20:15 if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive
The Gentiles spoken of are those of our generation. This passage is extremely important for us to understand because it applies to our day. The gospel has gone forth among the American Gentiles-this is the blessing which they shall receive. The warning the Lord gives applies to those Gentiles who live after they have scattered my people. The scattering of the descendants of Lehi has ended, so our generation is the generation to which these warnings apply.
Elder John Morgan
"If there is one point more clearly evidenced than another in all sacred history, it is that there shall come certain times and seasons in the history of this earth that shall be looked upon as the culmination of the events of the providences of our Father...we read the sayings of the Prophets and His own words in relation to the great events that should transpire in the latter days, that should so dwarf into insignificance the events of former days that the memory of them should almost fade from the mind of man. 'As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man,' when He shall return to earth in power and glory and with authority to reign.
"The Latter-day Saints believe that there should be a day of preparation for this great event; and while the world but little comprehends this important fact or the connection that the Latter-day Saints have with it, yet to the Latter-day Saints it is a living reality. The day of the coming of these events is not far distant, and we are living in one of the most momentous ages of the world--an age prophesied of in the past as one in which the work of the Lord should be cut short in righteousness, wherein all things should transpire very rapidly, so much so that the peoples of the earth would be unprepared for them...One event has trod on the heels of another so closely that it has seemed almost impossible to keep them in memory; yet let any one take the history of these events and compare them with the words as recorded in the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, as well as the words of the living oracles, and there has been no event of any importance but has been clearly foretold." (Collected Discourses, Vol.3, John Morgan, August 13th, 1893)
3 Ne 20:16 a remnant of the house of Jacob...shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest
This doctrine is so important that it appears in 5 different places in the scriptures: Micah 5:8-9, 3 Ne 16:15; 20:16; 21:12; Mormon 5:24. Here, the Lord references the prophecies of Micah 5:8-9. He explains that the remnant spoken of will include the latter-day descendants of the Nephites and Lamanites. This is the time spoken of when Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose (DC 49:24). But the remnant spoken of will also include all those Gentiles who have repented and been adopted into the House of Israel (see commentary for 3 Ne 16:15). Therefore, the best way to think about this remnant is as the kingdom of God on earth or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for they are the covenant people of the Lord (see v. 19). It is in this context, as members of the church and kingdom of God, that the Lamanites will blossom.
According to the prophecy, this remnant is to be feared, for they are they, who...if [they] goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Well this prophecy sounds quite ominous! Do the Gentiles of the Latter-days need to fear the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? According to the word of the Lord, they need to fear the power of God which will be among this people in the last days, for they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion (DC 105:37). One might think this prophecy sounds too violent. Certainly, it is hard to imagine the Church as a military threat to the Gentiles. Yet, over the course of the next several verses, we will see that the power of the Lord will be among the saints to such a degree that it will strike fear into the hearts of the Gentiles. They may, even as prophesied, go through, treading down and tearing in pieces, but the final destruction will be at the hand of the Lord himself, I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth (Isa 63:6).
Bruce R. McConkie
"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 Millenial Messiah, p. 248)
3 Ne 20:17 Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries
There are three assumptions which must precede these remarks. First is that the Lord is speaking to those members of the kingdom of God on earth in the latter-days, my people with whom the Father hath covenanted (v. 19). The second assumption is that he is speaking about events to take place primarily in the New World (see v. 14-28). Third, the term, Zion, as used in the scriptures refers to the New Jerusalem which is yet to be built on the American continent. Given these scripturally sound assumptions, what are the implications of this prophecy, Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries? Spiritually speaking, certainly, the Church has long had its hand lifted up against the adversaries of evil and wickedness, but the scriptures speak of this in more literal terms.
Remember when the Lord counseled the saints to sue for peace until the army of Israel becomes very great...But first let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations; That the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God and his Christ (DC 105:26-32). There will come a day when the people of Zion will be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand (DC 45:69-70).
And so the scripture speaks of a time in which the kingdom on earth will make a mighty transition, from a religious organization to a political and social force. In the Millenium, the kingdom will be a theocracy, and the government shall be upon his shoulder (Isa 9:6). This is the time spoken of by Daniel, And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most high, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him (Dan 7:27). The kingdom spoken of is the same which he likened to a stone which was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces...and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth (Dan 2:34-35). The kingdom was to break in pieces the kingdoms of the earth then present, And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever (Dan 2:44). That kingdom is unmistakably the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This is the people with whom the Father hath covenanted. At the Second Coming, he will make them strong, I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces many people (v. 19). But this will not be done with a military force organized among the saints, for the Lord has promised, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil-I will fight your battles (DC 105:14, italics added).
Mark E. Petersen
"... in these, the last days, the Lord has predicted that there shall be two simultaneous movements. One of these movements is the great tribulation that shall come upon the world. The wicked will destroy the wicked.
"The other great movement which will be going forward simultaneously is that there shall be a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and it shall roll forth and eventually fill the whole earth. The Church to which you and I belong is that stone. It has been cut out of the mountain without hands, and your destiny and mine is to help roll it forth. (D&C 65:2.)
"Now do you suppose for one moment that the judgments of God are going to interfere with the progress of his work? He is consistent, isn't he? Although he will pour out his tribulations upon the wicked, he nevertheless will carry forward his work, and his people, under divine protection, will roll forth that stone until eventually it fills the whole earth.
"And so says the Book of Mormon:
"For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.
"Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire. (1 Nephi 22:16-17.)
"I believe that. In the midst of all these tribulations God will send fire from heaven, if necessary, to destroy our enemies while we carry forward our work and push that stone until it fills the whole earth!
"Your destiny is to do that very thing, and this is the kind of protection you will have. You do not need to fear about world conditions. You do not need to fear about anybody. Just serve the Lord and keep his commandments and build the kingdom, and as you do so you will be protected in these last days. God will have his hand over you, and you can plan your lives in confidence. (Conference Report, October 1960, pp. 81-83. as taken from D. Ludlow's A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p.122-3)
3 Ne 20:18 I will gather my people together as a man gathereth his sheaves into the floor
The covenant people of the Lord will be gathered to Zion, the New Jerusalem, which is to be the headquarters for the Millenial government, for the law shall go forth of Zion (Micah 4:2). The gathering will both strengthen Zion and be a refuge for the saints. Why will the saints need a place of refuge and safety? The following scriptures should give us both the answer, and plenty more to think about.
I have sworn in my wrath, and decreed wars upon the face of the earth, and the wicked shall slay the wicked, and fear shall come upon every man; And the saints also shall hardly escape; nevertheless, I, the Lord, am with them, and will come down in heaven from the presence of my Father and consume the wicked with unquenchable fire...Wherefore, seeing that I, the Lord, have decreed all these things upon the face of the earth, I will that my saints should be assembled upon the land of Zion (DC 63:33-36, italics added). It shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another (DC 45:68-69, italics added). Micah spoke of this day saying, Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron...(Micah 4:11-13, italics added).
Bruce R. McConkie
"But let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter and recite the crowning reason for gathering to Zion or to her stakes. It is to receive the blessings found in the temples of the Lord. There and there only are the saints endowed with power from on high after the ancient pattern. There and there only can they enter into the same eternal covenants that Jehovah made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that through celestial marriage they might have a continuation of the seeds forever and ever." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 574)
3 Ne 20:19 I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord
After the power of God shalt beat in pieces many people, the saints of God will take the spoil. According to the pattern among the ancient armies of Israel, the spoil will be consecrated unto the Lord (Josh 6:19), but Isaiah tells us that the Lord will not keep it for himself, for he shall divide the spoil with the strong (Isa 53:12) To the House of Israel, he promised, thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited...(3 Ne 22:3). Obadiah also prophesied that Israel would take the spoil of the heathen, saying, upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions (Obadiah 1:17).
3 Ne 20:22 a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people
This will be the time when the people of Zion will gain a reputation like none other. The Lord will make them a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth (Micah 4:7). Nephi said, all the nations that fight against Zion, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision; yea, it shall be unto them, even as unto a hungry man which dreameth, and behold he eateth but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or like unto a thirsty man which dreameth, and behold he drinketh but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; yea, even so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion (2 Ne 27:3). In the language of Isaiah, No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord (Isa 54:17).
Armed with the power of God, with the Savior in their midst, no one will dare to challenge their authority:
'And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.
And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.
And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand.
...For when the Lord shall appear he shall be terrible unto them, that fear my seize upon them, and they shall stand afar off and tremble.
And all nations shall be afraid because of the terror of the Lord, and the power of his might.' (DC 45:66-75).
What an incredible heritage awaits the servants of the Lord! The implications of these prophecies are astounding. No wonder the Lord counseled the early saints, And now I say unto you, keep these things from going abroad unto the world until it is expedient in me, that ye may accomplish this work in the eyes of the people and in the eyes of your enemies, that they may not know your works until ye have accomplished the thing which I have commanded you (DC 45:72).
3 Ne 20:23 I am he of whom Moses spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up...like unto me
Gospel scholars have described many similarities between the mission of Moses and the mortal mission of Christ. However, the principle which prompted the Savior's use of Deut. 18:15 was not his mortal ministry-it was his Second Coming. Furthermore, when the Deuteronomy passage is quoted elsewhere, it is always in reference to his Second Coming (1 Ne 22:19-20; Acts 3:22-23; JS-Hist. 1:40). Therefore, we should assume that most of the similarities between Moses and Christ refer not to Christ's mortal reign but to his Millenial reign.
Did not Moses save Israel from the most powerful military force on the earth? Will not Christ save Israel from an army assembled from all nations? Was not Moses the lawgiver for Israel? Will not Christ dispense the word of the Lord from Jerusalem and the law of the Lord from Zion? Did not Moses offer the children of Israel a land of promise, flowing with milk and honey? Will not Christ establish Israel in their land of promise and supply pools of living water and the bread of life? Did not Moses live with his people, judge them, and lead them in person? Will not Christ become the Great Judge and dwell with his people?
While we don't think about Moses delivery of the children of Israel in apocalyptic terms, we should. Moses' delivery of the children of Israel is a type of Christ's delivery of Israel from a besieging army. Even the destructions which were brought upon Egypt are but a foreshadowing of the way in which his enemies will be destroyed. Indeed, the destruction of Egypt at the hand of Moses shows us how the Lord will destroy Babylon in the last days. Fortunately, he will not need his saints to fight, for he has promised 'I will fight your battles' (DC 105:14) just as he fought their battles in Moses' day (Ex. 14:14).
Plagues of Egypt
Apocalyptic Destruction of Wicked
Waters of Egypt turned to blood. (Ex. 7:20)
The rivers and fountains of waters...became blood. (Rev. 16:4)
Frogs covered the land of Egypt. (Ex. 8:6)
Three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon. (Rev 16:13)
Plagues of lice and flies. (Ex. 8:17,24)
God will send forth flies and maggots. (DC 29:8)
All the cattle of Egypt died. (Ex. 9:6)
Desolation upon the cattle and sheep. (Joel 1:15-20)
Plague of boils upon man and beast. (Ex. 9:10)
There fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast. (Rev. 16:2)
Plague of hail and fire (Ex. 9:23)
Men scorched with fire and a plague of great hailstones. (Rev. 16:8,21)
Locusts covered the face of the whole earth. (Ex. 10:14-15)
There came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth. (Rev. 9:3-10)
A thick darkness in all the land for three days. (Ex. 10:22)
The sun became black as sackcloth. (Rev. 6:12)
The firstborn males are killed. (Ex. 12:29-30)
The third part of men are killed by fire, smoke, and brimstone. (Rev. 9:18)
Pharaoh's army destroyed by water. (Ex. 14:28)
Saint's enemies destroyed by fire. (1 Ne. 22:17)
After the plagues of Egypt are repeated upon the wicked of the last days, the saints will clearly see the connection. Then it will seem most natural to 'sing the song of Moses, the servant of God' in conjunction with 'the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.' (Rev. 15:3) Then will the saints understand in fullness that the prophet whom the Lord should raise up like unto Moses would be like him in so many ways. For 'it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.' (Acts 3:23)
3 Ne 20:24 all the prophets from Samuel...have testified of me
We know that all the prophets before Samuel also testified of Christ, Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ (Jacob 7:11). Therefore, we may find this to be a curious phrase. Why did Christ reference only the prophets since Samuel?
It is important to note that Peter taught the same thing in Acts 3:24. Peter was referring to the time when Christ would come again. He spoke of the times of refreshing which will not occur until the times of restitution of all things. He also stated that all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. (Acts 3:19-24, italics added). Note how the text of Acts differs from 3 Nephi; Peter states that these prophets had all spoken of these days, speaking of the last days.
Therefore, although all the prophets may have taught of Christ, not all of them prophesied concerning the events surrounding his Second Coming. Samuel was the first in a string of Jewish prophets whose message was of the Millenial Christ. In anticipation of her son's ministry, Samuel's mother prophesied of the Millenial Christ, saying, The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them (1 Sam 2:10). (Interestingly, this language closely resembles the language of 3 Nephi 20.) Therefore, the ministry of Samuel marked a shift in prophetic subject matter. From the days of Samuel to the days of Gordon B. Hinckley, the prophets would speak not only of Jesus of Nazareth, but also of the Millenial Christ.
3 Ne 20:28 I will return their (the Gentiles') iniquity upon their own heads
For rejecting the truth, the Gentiles will suffer, the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day...even upon all the nations of the Gentiles (v. 20). Moroni, speaking of our day, said, Behold the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer (Mormon 8:41). Obadiah echoed this promise, For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head (Obad 1:15).
3 Ne 20:28 they shall be a scourge unto the people of this land
See commentary for 3 Nephi 16:9.
3 Ne 20:29 I would give unto them...the land of Jerusalem
The focus of Christ's sermon now switches to promises about Jerusalem and the Old World Jews. This is the topic from verses 29-35.
The establishment of the state of Israel as a gathering place for the Jews is one of the great pre-millenial signs of the times. Over 100 years ago, Elder George Q. Cannon said, "There is a movement at the present time among the Jews...causing them to turn their attention to the land of Jerusalem, and the way is being made plain for the gathering of that people to the land of their fathers; and changes will take place from time to time in the government at Palestine that will enable the Jews to fulfill all that has been predicted concerning their return to the Land of Promise." (Collected Discourses, Vol.2, George Q. Cannon, January 12, 1890).
Since then, the state of Israel has been established and is the gathering place of the Jews. The spirit of the gathering has brought them by the millions from all over the world. The prophecies regarding the establishment of Jerusalem as a gathering place have been fulfilled more literally than the faithful could have imagined.
"In recent years we have seen how the hearts of the children of Judah have turned to the land of their fathers, to Palestine. Dr. Chaim Weizmann, who was president of both the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the World Zionist Organization, headquartered in Jerusalem, when he was asked why the Jews were returning to the land of Israel, replied that it was because of their belief in a 'mystical force.' (Bartley C. Crum, Behind the Silken Curtain, New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1947.)
"This 'mystical force' that has turned the hearts of the Jews of every country to the land of Israel did not come from man, but came after centuries of being 'sifted among the nations.' Because Moses committed the keys for the gathering of Israel to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, the spirit of gathering has been poured out upon the nations of Israel, making possible the fulfillment of the prediction of Isaiah which Moroni quoted to Joseph Smith: 'And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.' (Isaiah 11:12.)" (A Marvelous Work And A Wonder, p. 219)
3 Ne 20:31 they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God
We should be careful not to make too many generalizations from this scripture. Prior to Christ's Second Advent, there will me many Old World Jews who will be converted to Christ. However, the nation as a whole, will not. This is evidenced by their reaction to him when he comes again, for they will ask, what are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet? (DC 45:51)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"Not many of the Jews, I take it from my reading of the scriptures, will believe in Christ before he comes. The Book of Mormon tells us that they shall begin to believe in him (2 Ne 30:7-18, etc.). They are now beginning to believe in him. The Jews today look upon Christ as a great Rabbi. They have accepted him as one of their great teachers; they have said that, 'He is Jew of Jew, the greatest Rabbi of them all,' as one has stated it. When the gospel was restored in 1830, if a Jew had mentioned the name of Christ in one of the synagogues, he would have been rebuked. Had a rabbi referred to him, the congregation would have arisen and left the building. And so, we see the sentiment has changed. Now I state this on Jewish authority that they are beginning to believe in Christ, and some of them are accepting the gospel.
"But in the main they will gather to Jerusalem in their unbelief; the gospel will be preached to them; some of them will believe. Not all of me Gentiles have believed when the gospel has been proclaimed to them, but the great body of the Jews who are there assembled will not receive Christ as their Redeemer until he comes himself and makes himself manifest unto them." (Doctrines of Salvation 3:9).
3 Ne 20:35 the Father hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations
See commentary for 3 Nephi 16:20.
3 Ne 20:36 put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem
"Spirtually speaking, Israel has worn rags and eaten dust long enough. Now is the time for her to come forth and assume the dignity and power that were once hers. In a revealed commentary on this passage given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord affirmed that Isaiah had reference to those of the last days who would be called to hold the priesthood, establish Zion, and bring about the redemption of Israel. 'To put on her strength,' Joseph was told, meant that Israel would again be clothed in the 'authority of the priesthood' which she had a 'right to by lineage.' The loosing herself from the bands of her neck would be the breaking of the 'curses of God upon her' in her scattered and apostate condition as she returned to the Lord from whence she had fallen. (D&C 113:7-10.)
"It was a paraphrase of these verses that Moroni chose as a conclusion to the Book of Mormon. Speaking to scattered Israel of the last days, Moroni said, 'Awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders for ever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, o house of Israel, may be fulfilled' (Moroni 10:31)." (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Gospel Symbolism, pp. 141-2)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Put on thy beautiful garments, O daughters of Zion. Live up to the great and magnificent inheritance which the Lord God, your Father in Heaven, has provided for you. Rise above the dust of the world. Know that you are daughters of God, children with a divine birthright. Walk in the sun with your heads high, knowing that you are loved and honored, that you are a part of his kingdom, and that there is for you a great work to be done which cannot be left to others." (Ensign, November 1983, pp. 83-84.)
3 Ne 20:40 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings
Abinadi explained that this passage refers to the seed of Christ, particularly his prophets, and preeminently, the Savior himself:
'...all the holy prophets ever since the world began? I say unto you that they are his seed.
And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!
And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet!
And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!
And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!
And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;
For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished.' (Mosiah 15:13-19)
This scripture applies to the prophets and apostles of our day. How beautiful upon the Rocky Mountains are the feet of those great men whose lives have been dedicated to bringing good tidings and publishing peace! They continue to proclaim the same message that Abinadi did, that salvation comes through the sacrifice of the Only-Begotten, to break the bands of death and satisfy the demands of justice. When we raise our arm to the square to sustain the leaders of the Church, the words of Abinadi and Isaiah should come to mind, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace!
Mark E. Petersen
"Have you ever asked yourselves who these people are, who preach the gospel of peace and whose feet are so beautiful upon the mountains? Abinadi, in the Book of Mormon, gives us the explanation. These people are the prophets of God - they who preach the gospel of the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ." [Quoting Mosiah 15:13-18]
"So spoke Abinadi. The prophets, then are the servants of Jesus Christ and have been from the beginning of time. . . .We honor them. We shall follow them, and through them we shall work out our salvation here on earth in the Lord's own way." (LDS Church News, Deseret News, Mar 30, 1996)
Jeffrey R. Holland
"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." (Christ And The New Covenant, p. 286 - 287)
3 Ne 20:41 be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Be clean. Be clean in your thoughts. It is not easy in the environment in which you live. But if you work at it, you can do it. You can shut out those influences which destroy your soul, your spirituality, and can destroy your very life. The sleaze, the filth, the terrible pornography that is sweeping over the earth like a flood--stay away from it. Do not rent videos of a sleazy, filthy nature and sit around and look at them. They will destroy you. Do not go to shows which will tear down your principles. Do not read literature which will destroy your high ideals. You are a son or daughter of God, and He expects marvelous things of you." (Eugene Oregon Regional Conference, September 15, 1996 as taken from Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, "Virtue")
David O. McKay
"Bacon, the great philosopher, said, 'Cleanliness of body was ever esteemed to proceed from a due reverence to God. The consciousness of clean linen is in and of itself a source of moral strength, second only to that of a clean conscience.'" (Conference Report, Oct. 1956, p. 90)
Charles C. Penrose
"'Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.' The Lord expects the young men of Israel to be pure and virtuous in their conduct, just as much as he requires it of the daughters of Israel. Let that be understood...The Lord...has brought us into these mountains that we may raise up a holy generation, a peculiar people, a nation of priests, who will afterwards, some time in eternity, be kings as well as priests, ruling and reigning in the house of Israel forever. As I have said, the strength of this people is in their comparative purity, in their righteousness, in their sincerity. They are not a set of hypocrites." (Conference Report, Oct. 1904, p. 69)
3 Ne 20:44 his visage was so marred, more than any man
Bruce R. McConkie
"In these words we see a triumphant millennial Christ -- one whose visage was marred and whose form was mangled when he dwelt among men -- we see him in glory and dominion, in whose presence kings remain silent and before whom their mouths are shut. We see his cleansing blood sprinkle all nations, with devout men everywhere turning to the saving truths that they have not before heard and to the words of truth that they have not theretofore considered." (The Mortal Messiah, p. 344)