Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came to the Hawaii Waipahu Stake’s stake conference in October 2019. Amidst his soul-stirring speech, including Jesus’ recognition of the people’s weakness when preparing to leave them and report His ministrations to the Father, Elder Holland counseled us to study that first day the Savior visited the people at the temple in Bountiful. It’s recorded in 3 Nephi 11-3 Nephi 18.
Of course, I’d read these chapters before, but I hadn’t read them in the context of the Savior did all of this in one day and why was it significant.
A large group of people gathered at the temple. 3 Nephi 17 records that there were about 2,500 men, women, and children. We had about 1,200 men, women, and children in our stake conference that day.
The Nephites discussed Jesus Christ and showed each other “the marvelous change which had taken place.”
They heard a voice three times from heaven. As they heard the voice, their bodies shook and their hearts burned. After focusing on the sound, they heard God the Father testifying of Jesus Christ.
Behold my, whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him. (verse 7)
They looked towards heaven and saw Jesus, wearing a white robe, descending in their midst. They all watched. None of them could speak.
And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
And behold, I am theand the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the of the Father in all things from the beginning. (verse 9-11)
After Jesus testified of Himself, He:
- Commanded them to arise
- Commanded them to approach Him
- Commanded them to thrust their hands in His side and feel the nail prints in His hands and feet so they would know He is the God of Israel and was slain for sins
- Allowed 2,500 people to handle Him. [How much time did this take? A cursory greeting would take a while, but this kind of intimate witnessing would be time-consuming.]
- Let the people witness and worship
- Called for Nephi. Nephi came, bowed, kissed His feet
- Commanded that Nephi should arise
- Ordained Nephi giving him power and authority to baptize
- Called and ordained 11 others
- Taught them how to baptize by immersion
- Taught His doctrine: baptism necessary for kingdom of God, unity between the Godhead, contention is of the devil, He bears record of the Father, and the Holy Ghost bears record of the Father and Jesus, repent and believe Him, those who believe receive baptism of fire and with the Holy Ghost
- Commanded the 12 disciples to preach His words among the people unto the ends of the earth
After instructing the 12, Jesus turned back to the multitude.
- Blessed if they hearken to the 12, receive water baptism from the 12.
- Promised His baptism of fire and with the Holy Ghost
- Promised the same blessing to those not present who would believe on their words.
- Shared the Sermon on the Mount
If He just preached this sermon, this chapter takes 7 minutes and 40 seconds to read.
In Chapter 13, Jesus continues the Sermon on the Mount.
If He just preached this sermon, this chapter takes 5 minutes and 3 seconds to read.
In Chapter 14, Jesus continues the Sermon on the Mount.
If He just preached this sermon, this chapter takes 3 minutes and 44 seconds to read.
In Chapter 15, Jesus
- Looked on the multitude
- Declared that He’d taught them the things He’d taught the Jews [This reading really impacted me as I reflected that everything He said and did in Palestine after this had been covered in the Sermon on the Mount.]
- Perceived some had questions about the law of Moses
- Taught them how and why the law of Moses was fulfilled but the covenant is not all fulfilled
- Commanded them to look to Him as the light and keep His commandments
- Turned back to the 12 disciples and taught them that
- They are a light to the people
- The Father gave them the land for their inheritance
- Those in Jerusalem did not receive the same
- They were separated because of their iniquity and iniquity still separates them
- Other tribes of Israel were separated, they are not lost to God
- Nephites are not Gentiles and are numbered with those the Father has given the Son
In Chapter 16, Jesus continued teaching the 12 disciples
- More about the tribes of Israel who were led away and that He had not appeared to them yet
- the Father commanded Him to visit and teach them
- Commanded the 12 disciples to record their experience as a witness for the Jews
- Prophesied that the Book of Mormon would come forth through the Gentiles and impact all of the House of Israel
- House of Israel will be gathered
- Then will He fulfill the covenant
- Impact of the Gentile’s faith and their unbelief
- Unbelief causes the curses of the covenant to be unleashed
- Isaiah’s prophesy will be fulfilled
Jesus turned to the multitude. It was time for Him to go. He still had a lot to do before He fulfilled all of the Father’s commandments.
Ithat ye are weak, that ye cannot all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.
Therefore, go ye unto your homes, andupon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and your minds for the , and I come unto you again.
But now Iunto the Father, and also to myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them. (verses 1-4)
The multitude understood, but they weren’t ready for Him to leave. No one asked Him to change His plans. But as He looked at them, He knew they really wanted Him to stay.
And so He did.
And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled withtowards you.
Have ye any that areamong you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or , or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.
For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that youris that I should heal you. (verses 6-8)
When He invited them, ALL THE MULTITUDE moved forward. Everyone. 2,500 children, women, and men.
He promised to heal them like He’d healed those at Jerusalem. That meant individually, with laying on of hands, often with some temporal matter incorporated.
Then, THEY DID ALL—again, everyone!—did bow and worship at His feet. Those who could touch His feet did with their lips and tears.
- Commanded the little children be brought to Him
- Stood in the midst of the little children
- Commanded the multitude to kneel
- Began praying to the Father
- Kneeled and prayed words that no tongue can speak nor hearts conceive
- Filled the multitude’s hearts with joy
- Finished praying and arose while the people remained overcome
- Commanded them to arise
- Blessed them for their faith after they arose
- Declared His joy was full
- Took their little ones individually, blessed them and prayed to the Father for them
- Wept again
- Commanded the multitude to behold their little ones
- Commanded angels to descend from heaven and encircle the children with fire
- Commanded angels to minister to the children
- Allowed the multitude to bear record and witness
Chapter 18 begins with Jesus commanding the 12 disciples to fetch some bread and wine. Were the angels still ministering to the children? I wish I knew.
While the 12 were gone, Jesus commanded the multitude to sit down. How long did it take them to gather bread and wine? How closely did 2,500 people sit together in order to hear Jesus’ prayers and commandments? Did He stand on a tower like King Benjamin?
The 12 returned with bread and wine.
- Took the bread
- Blessed the bread
- Brake the bread
- Gave the bread to the disciples
- Commanded that they should eat. They ate until full
- Commanded that the disciples distribute the bread to the multitude until they were filled
- Taught that one person would have the power and authority for the sacrament in a congregation
- Commanded them to always do a sacrament
- Commanded them to eat the bread in remembrance of His body, which they handled, and as a testimony to the Father that they always remembered Him.
- Promised that if they always remembered Him, they would have His Spirit
- Commanded the disciples to take the wine of the cup and drink it until filled
- Commanded them to give to the multitude to drink until filled
- Blessed the disciples for fulfilling His commandments
- Warned about following His commandments with exactness
- Warned about being tempted by the devil
- Commanded the disciples to pray for the people like He did
- Explained that He was the example to follow
- Turned to the multitude
- Again warned about being tempted by Satan
- Commanded them to pray always to be blessed by the Father
- Commanded them to pray to bless their families
- Commanded them to meet together often allowing all to join
- Commanded them to pray for those who haven’t covenanted with God that they would
- Commanded them to be a light, an example, like He is
- Commanded them to never ask people to go away, but to come
- Warned that if they didn’t keep that commandment, they were open to temptation
- Turned to the disciples
- Commanded them to guard the sanctity of the sacrament
- Commanded them to prevent anyone from unworthily partaking because it becomes a curse
- Commanded them to not cast the person out of the congregation though
- Taught that if the person repents, he should be counted with the covenant people but if he doesn’t repent, then he will not be counted with the covenant people
- Warned the disciples to keep the commandments to they would not be condemned by the Father
- Taught that He gave the commandments because of previous disputations
- Said He had to go to the Father
- Gave the disciples the power to bestow the Holy Ghost by touching every disciple individually and speaking privately to each disciple
A cloud overshadowed the multitude and Jesus ascended into heaven. The disciples witnessed His ascent.
And thus ended the Nephite’s one day with Jesus.