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Monday, November 16, 2009

3 Nephi Ch. 21

Read it HERE.

Summary: Israel shall be gathered when the Book of Mormon comes forth—The Gentiles shall be established as a free people in America—They shall be saved if they believe and obey; otherwise they shall be cut off and destroyed—Israel shall build the New Jerusalem, and the lost tribes shall return. [A.D. 34]

Jesus told the Nephites He would give them a sign (3 Nephi 21:1) so they would know when the gathering of Israel had begun. He then foretold the Restoration of the gospel, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the establishment of a free nation in America, and thetaking of the gospel to their seed (see vs. 1–7). He called the Restoration of the latter days “a great and a marvelous work” (see v. 9).

The way Jesus says something in verse 6 was very interesting to me:

"6 For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel;" (emphasis mine.)

Why is this an important blessing? Where is the benefit in actually being numbered among the people of God?

Verse 11 mentions God's people again as the "people who are of the covenant." What covenant is this, and why is it important? The covenant Jesus is talking about here is the Abrahamic Covenant.

Among the promises made to Abraham were the following:

~ His posterity would be numerous (see Genesis 17:5–6; Abraham 2:9; 3:14).

~ His seed, or descendants, would receive the gospel and bear the priesthood (see Abraham 2:9).
~ Through the ministry of his seed, "all the families of the earth [would] be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal" (Abraham 2:11).

A person can receive all the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant—even if he or she is not a literal descendant of Abraham—by obeying the laws and ordinances of the gospel (see Galatians 3:26–29; 4:1–7; D&C 84:33–40).

(information found here.)

But so what? We could live our lives, having no knowledge of the Church, have our work done for us after we have passed on, and accept the Gospel in the next life, right? Why is being numbered among God's people in this life such an important blessing?

I believe it is because making and keeping covenants with God serves as a compass in this life. We have the way back to our Father in Heaven laid out for us; all we need to do is follow Christ. He led the way. When we are active among God's people, He will bless us with His spirit. This spirit will guide us through the difficult or confusing parts of this life.

Our mortal lives will be better. We will find it easier to endure. We will experience more joy and greater perspective. These are some of the blessings that are waiting for us right now.

One final quote from President Hinkley on the blessings and responsibilities we have as members of Christ's church:

"Do we really comprehend, do we understand the tremendous significance of that which we have? . . .

“We of this generation are the end harvest of all that has gone before. It is not enough to simply be known as a member of this Church. A solemn obligation rests upon us. Let us face it and work at it. “We must live as true followers of the Christ, with charity toward all, returning good for evil, teaching by example the ways of the Lord, and accomplishing the vast service He has outlined for us" (in Conference Report, Apr. 2004, 84–85; or Ensign, May 2004, 83–84).


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