2020 Study Summary 37: Arise and Comeforth Unto Me
3 Nephi 8-11
“Arise and Comeforth Unto Me”
Tempests, earthquakes, fires, whirlwinds, and physical upheavals attest the crucifixion of Christ—Many people are destroyed—Darkness covers the land for three days—Those who remain bemoan their fate. [A.D. 34]
In the darkness the voice of Christ proclaims the destruction of many people and cities for their wickedness—He also proclaims his divinity, announces that the law of Moses is fulfilled, and invites men to come unto him and be saved. [A.D. 34]
There is silence in the land for many hours—The voice of Christ promises to gather his people as a hen gathereth her chickens—The more righteous part of the people had been preserved. [A.D. 34]
The Father testifies of his Beloved Son—Christ appears and proclaims his atonement—The people feel the wound marks in his hands and feet and side—They cry Hosanna—He sets forth the mode and manner of baptism—The spirit of contention is of the devil—Christ’s doctrine is that men should believe and be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. [A.D. 34]
What atonement signs were given in ancient Israel?
On both sides of the earth, eastern and western, there were signs given of the Savior’s death and atonement. His agony had already been foreshadowed in ancient Israel in the plagues of Egypt when the Children of Israel sought deliverance from the cruel Pharaoh. The plagues included storms. These were signs to assist in recognizing the Messiah, The Deliverer, one who would provide salvation in the future. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt. And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.” (Exodus 9:22-25) “Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was thereno hail.” (Exodus 9:26)
What did the darkness mean?
Notwithstanding the prophecies, so many people choose not to believe – on both sides of the earth. The plagues included darkness. “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go. And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” (Exodus 10:20-23) And, in the New Testament: “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.” (Matthew 27:45) “And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours—and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land.” (3 Nephi 8:19)
How did mother earth respond?
“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? . . . Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” (Matthew 27:45-51) “And it came to pass that thus did the three days pass away. And it was in the morning, and the darkness dispersed from off the face of the land, and the earth did cease to tremble, and the rocks did cease to rend, and the dreadful groanings did cease, and all the tumultuous noises did pass away.” (3 Nephi 10:9)
How important is “three days and nights?”
As mentioned in previous lesson supplements, the term “three days and three nights” is used often as a lesson of salvation. As a type or sign of being saved, timing of biblical events seem to be very significant. There are 27-verses in the Old Testament that refer to three nights or three days. More than a dozen of them refer to someone or a nation being saved. Could that make us ponder on Jesus repeatedly saying that He would rise-up on the third day, and save us? After the crucifixion in Jerusalem the darkness continued into the night. At that very hour it was supposed to be daylight in the Book of Mormon lands, yet, the darkness continued covering their entire land for three days and nights. “But behold, as I said unto you concerning another sign, a sign of his death, behold, in that day that he shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead.” (Helaman 14:20) As it was dark for three days in the Book of Mormon lands, Jesus was in the tomb for three nights in the Holy Land, and rose on the third day in Jerusalem! Remember, biblically, night always precedes day. (See previous lesson “Easter” March 30 – April 12, 2020)
How does Jonah’s experience teach about the atonement?
In Judaism, the holiest day of the year is Yom Kippur, (day of atonement). It is preceded by ten days of repenting which are followed by a day of fasting. The entire country shuts down. This includes radio and television broadcasting. All shops are closed. All private and public transportation is discontinued. Most significantly, the Book of Jonah is read. He is told to go north (up) to Nineveh, instead he goes south (down) to Jaffa where his boat journey ends in a terrible storm. He is thrown overboard, goes down and spends three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish before he comes up and is delivered. Hundreds of years later, Jesus used that experience as the only sign he would give the Pharisees of his Messianic role. “. . . he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:39-40) Jonah knew that “Salvation is of the Lord,” (Jonah 2:9). A Hebrew way of expressing that would be “Jeho” (shortened version of Jehovah – the Lord) and “Shua” (shortened version of salvation). Together they make “Jeho-shua.” That name has been derived into Greek and Latin and eventually into English as “Jesus,” Jehovah who saves.
How did Jesus identify himself in the Book of Mormon lands?
“And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them. 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 the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning. And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.” (3 Nephi 11:8-12)
How did ancient prophets learn about ascending and descending from and to earth?
“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac . . .” (Genesis 28:12)
How do I prepare for His second coming?
Those who had already made the “leap of faith” before the signs – were saved. They experienced the fulfillment of signs that they did not seek, however, recognized them through their faith and repentance . . . “Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.” (3 Nephi 9:14)