Continuing on the theme of creation in 3 Nephi—to identify it and apply it to myself.
A group of Nephites congregated at the temple in Bountiful discussing the significant changes around them. They “were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.”
Then, some of them heard a voice.
And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and not withstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea it did pierce them to the very soul and did cause their hearts to burn.
And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
Behold my Beloved son, in whom I am well please, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
Creation Pattern through the People
Consider the first two phases of creation in relation to these people and their bodies. The first phase of creation organized matter. The second phase of creation divided firmament through an expanse.
Matter, which cannot be destroyed and always exists in various forms, is organized by the Word of God.
And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth. And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters.
The people survived the catastrophes. But they still were not ready to meet Jesus Christ. They were desolate. They needed assistance breaching the expanse the Father prepared for them.
They heard the organizing word of the Father. It pierced them to the center. There was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake! No part!
One definition of quake is “to shake usually from shock or lack of stability.”
Believing any portion of non-truth leaves us on shaky ground. Later in their experience, the Savior commands that “there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. … Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.” And He does.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
He’s not talking to wildly wicked people. He’s talking to covenant makers.
I remember when I learned something that obliterated a long-held belief. I mentally and physically shook. It took me awhile to digest what I learned, my wrongness, and to confirm its truth. When I did confirm its truth, I felt more firmly stabilized than ever. But the discovery rocked my world because I wondered how I could have believed something so mistakenly.
The Lord warned about embracing false news, especially those who’ve covenanted to follow His Word in its purity.
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
One of those marvelous works is to speak truth in such a way to shatter old beliefs and reorganize an ability to receive and accept His truth. They couldn’t hear and understand at first. Did the Father just whisper and then speak louder to accommodate their hearing? No. They couldn’t hear because they needed some reorganization. They needed to cross a divided expanse.
With the Savior’s visitation imminent, all untruth, misconceptions, misperceptions needed eradication, reorganization, a new reality, a new beginning so the people could actually receive Him!
Recall angelic visitations to Laman and Lemuel and others with no spiritual impact. Their misconceptions remained so they were unable to receive.
Throughout His ministery, even Jesus Christ’s apostles struggled to receive understanding of His truths.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Jesus purely taught the way. His words and example enabled His apostles to know the way. He’d breached the expanse of knowledge and sought to purify their understanding. But Thomas, still persuaded by doubt, fear, confusion, had not received the way, the truth.
And thus, the Nephites quaked.
As they quaked, “it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.”
One of the most visual burning stories occurred when Elijah countered the priests of Baal at the altar of sacrifice. With sacrifices prepared, but no fire, each called on their god. Baal never answered. So after quite some time, Elijah prepared his sacrifice and called upon God.
Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
Another awesome fire manifestation happened as Solomon dedicated the temple.
Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of hte Lord filled the house.
Their hearts burned.
Shortly thereafter, Jesus explains that the Law of Moses is fulfilled. The law of burnt offerings and sin offerings of fire and smoke and flesh was fulfilled in Christ.
And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broeken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
They quaked then they burned.
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath suprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
They were purified. They were ready. Then the Savior appeared to them.
Jesus Christ’s Revelation
He that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record.
Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.
Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel.
The Messiah promises the same thing to us. As we recognize any untruths (including doubts, fears, misunderstandings) and organize our hearts and minds to accept the Savior’s way, truth and life, His grace enables us to traverse the great divide prepared to receive His revelation, which ultimately is Himself.
At the Millenium day, He’s prophesied to come in the midst of quaking and fire, but He invites us to follow His patterns of creation, experience a personal quaking and fire, and receive Him now.