“Whosoever Will Come, Him Will I Receive”
Taught By Jeff Stone
October 19, 2008
Today, in class, I asked the question, “What is, besides Moroni, the most likely scripture you will tell an investigator to read from the Book of Mormon? ” The answer we all agreed upon was 3 Nephi 11. This is where Christ begins his ministry amongst the people of Nephi.
This is basically the Book of Mormon equivalent of the Sermon on the Mount. This lesson covers just four chapters. Let’s examine each one.
In chapter 8, we are given a pretty graphic description of the destruction and desolation that occurred during the 3 day period after The Savior was crucified. Each event was prophesied by Samuel the Lamanite in The Book of Helaman. We read most of them in class today, and they can be found on the handout that I passed around. This compares Samuel’s prophesy with the actual fulfillment.
The main objective of this chapter, in my opinion, was to show evidence that the prophecies of the prophets are fulfilled and that we’d better heed their warnings. Take a moment to read the scriptures in chapter 8. You’ll find that the destruction was beyond anything we, likely, can fathom. The entire land was completely dark… so dark that you couldn’t light a fire… so dark that you could feel it.
To add to that, they were surrounded by unbelievable noise and sounds of destruction and devastation and death and people screaming. Entire cities being leveled and sunk into the ground. Valleys becoming mountains, and mountains becoming valleys. Amazing.
After 3 days, the sound and destruction stops, and a voice is heard. It’s the voice of Jesus, and his words are recorded in chapter 9 and chapter 10. The Lord speaks and tells of the destruction that has happened.
He describes, in depth, the cities that have been leveled and why. He speaks of those who did not repent and were, therefore, destroyed.
But then, in verse 14, he says to those who will come unto him will be blessed with eternal life. He uses the phrase come to me, or a variation of it 3 times in this one verse.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: ” ‘Come,’ [Christ] says lovingly. ‘Come, follow me.’ Wherever you are going, first come and see what I do, see where and how I spend my time. Learn of me, walk with me, talk with me, believe. Listen to me pray. In turn you will find answers to your own prayers. God will bring rest to your souls. Come, follow me” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 88; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 65).
Toward the end of chapter 9, The Lord declares that the Law of Moses has been fulfilled and that animal sacrifices are no longer. Instead, an offering of a broken heart and a contrite spirit is the new sacrifice.
President J. Reuben Clark Jr., who was a member of the First Presidency, said: “Under the new covenant that came in with Christ, the sinner must offer the sacrifice out of his own life, not by offering the blood of some other creature; he must give up his sins, he must repent, he himself must make the sacrifice” (Behold the Lamb of God , 107).
Once The Lord has spoken, there is a period of silence for several hours. After the silence broke, The Lord again began to speak unto them and reminded them how often He has offered to take them in and protect them like a hen and her chicks.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “What was the object of gathering … the people of God in any age of the world? … The main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house and the glories of His kingdom, and teach the people the way of salvation. … It is for the same purpose that God gathers together His people in the last days” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 307–8).
As The Savior spoke peace unto them, the sorrow and lamenting and howling for the loss of their loved ones ceased, and they began to have joy in The Lord.
We all suffer from various challenges, and adversity, yet I would imagine that nothing we’ve experienced could compare to what we read in chapter 8. After all that, the Nephites still had joy. That is the ultimate lesson for us… rejoice in The Lord.
Finally, we come to the last chapter of this lesson, chapter 11. Here, the Lord shows himself to the multitude and allows them to touch his hands, feet and side as a testimony that He is The Savior. In this chapter, God The Father introduces His Son, Jesus Christ. God’s voice is heard as he says, “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.”
Jesus then proceeds to descend out of Heaven and speak to them. What an amazing experience this must have been to hear the actual voice of God The Father, and then to see our Savior come forth from the Heavens. It is from this point through to 3 Nephi 26 that the people of Nephi are preached to by The Savior.
Frankly, the best thing to do is to read chapter 11 and the chapters beyond that. Trying to summarize The Savior’s words would not be near as effective, so it looks like we’ll be stopping here and hoping that everyone will not only read chapter 11, but also continue on reading the rest of the teachings of The Savior through to 3 Nephi 26. This will help you prepare for the upcoming lessons.