BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 39: 3Ne 17-19

BoM Gospel Doctrine Lesson 39: 3Ne 17-19 October 26, 2016

These chapters constitute the end of Day 1 of Jesus’ visit (ends in 19:3) and the beginning of Day 2 (19:4-26:15)


17- Jesus, moved by the people, stays longer than planned (or so the text appears to say). He addresses the multitude, heals people, prays.

18- Bread and wine for sacrament, various instructions and teachings, then Jesus ascends into heaven.

  • 18:5-7, 10-16 to disciples (“administrative” instructions)
  • 18:18-25 to multitude
  • 18:27-35 back to disciples

19- Everyone goes home, tells their neighbors, gather again, but into 12 groups, each taught by a disciple. People baptized. Each group prays, and Jesus prays, somewhat like John 17, the “great intercessory prayer.”

3Ne 17:3 “Prepare your minds for the morrow.” Get ready to receive. Cf. Alm 16:16, Alm 48:7 (Ready to endure.)
This or the next or the next General Conference something may change. It may be something minor, a policy or practice. Maybe something major, akin to polygamy being given or rescinded, or the revocation of the priesthood ban. Are we ready to receive something that potentially goes against our presuppositions, whatever they are?

We have some tight places to go before the Lord is through with this church and the world in this dispensation…. There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.” (D&C 21:6.) Harold B. Lee. Conference Reports, 1 October, 1970, p. 152.

3Ne 17:6- “Bowels filled with compassion” two notes here, one on meaning, one on translation. In the KJV OT, “bowels” translates a few words that refer to your internal (Num 5:22) and reproductive organs (Gen 15:4, Gen 25:23). Israelites localized strong feelings there, both positive and negative (Jer 4:19), “a feeling of love, loving sensation, mercy (originally designated the seat of this feeling, meaning bowels, inner parts of the body, the inner person).”- HALOT  When feelings are intended, modern translations often go with “heart” (Lam 1:20), since that often captures the modern pseudo-physiological “location” of strong feelings.I doubt they are speaking Hebrew at this point in time, but to the extent that the Book of Mormon echoes (often literalistic) KJV idiom, to have his “bowels filled with compassion” is an expression of very strong feeling.

Modern translations of the Old Testament read differently. They’re translating the sense across cultures.

“There is, it is important to note, no movement among conservative Christians to argue against the modern viewpoint that our thinking and emotions are not centered in either the heart or the bowels but the brain. Indeed, I think it is worth pointing out that many Christians find themselves able to believe that they are “Biblical literalists”, and that the Bible is in all things scientifically accurate, precisely because they read the Bible in translations that have translated ancient Israel’s literal understanding into modern metaphors, replacing bowels with compassion and heart with mind where necessary.And thus we have the Catch-22 that the better the job that translators do, the more likely it is that Christians reading the Bible may be unaware that they are thinking in ways that may be similar to ancient Israelites in crucial ways, but are also vastly different from them in terms of understanding of anatomy and other matters of science.”- From this review of John Walton’s book on Genesis 1, which I review here.

3Ne 17:7 According to the New Testament, what kind of miracle did Jesus perform in Israel that he does not do here? Like with the missing altar, read the text for what it doesn’t say that we might expect it to. The New Testament has Jesus casting out demons/devils/evil spirits (e.g. Matt 9:32-35). Jesus himself doesn’t do that in the record here, although others do (3Ne 7:19, 22). “Demons” make brief appearances in Mosiah 3:6 and Helaman 13:37, both apparently figurative passages. None of these seem to imply what the New Testament does, i.e. some kind of spiritual or demonic possession. What does this mean for the beliefs of the Book of Mormon people about the supernatural? Or is the lack of “demons” a function of Mormon’s editing or Joseph’s translating?

“Halt” apparently means unable to walk whereas “lame” means an appendage that is obviously less or non-functional due to withering or injury or birth defect, e.g. clubfoot.
“leprous” = skin disease, not leprosy or Hansen’s Disease. In OT never actually refers to leprosy. “NT lepra, if it refers at all to leprosy, does so only as one among many skin conditions.”-Anchor Bible Dictionary (must be out of print, the price has doubled!)

3Ne 17:14 If Jesus groans “within himself,” how do the people or Mormon, four-hundred years later know about it? Cf. John 11:38 “Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.” There the Greek means “to be greatly disturbed, deeply moved.”

3Ne 18:7-11 Sacrament symbolism begins. Bread = body= physical resurrection/rebirth. Wine=blood=atonement/spiritual rebirth/salvation.

3Ne 18:27-35 Administrative instructions given to disciples about who can and can’t attend and partake of the sacrament.

What was the status of the disciples?
They’re given power to give the Holy Ghost by laying on of hand in 3Ne 18:37.
They don’t have the Holy Ghost “given to them” until 3Ne 19:9. Is this the gift of the spirit or just a manifestation thereof?
They are then baptized in 3Ne 19:12 (or rebaptized?)
Then the Hoy Ghost falls upon them. 3Ne 19:13

3Ne 19:23 Cf. John 17:21. Oneness of God.

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