“He Did Expound All Things unto Them”
Taught By Jeff Stone
November 16, 2008
This Lesson is one of my favorites. It’s a very valuable example to us of how important the scriptures are. In these few chapters, The Savior quotes Isaiah 54 regarding the scattering and gathering of Israel. He then tells Nephi to make sure to record the prophesy and fulfillment of prophesy given by Samuel the Lamanite regarding the dead rising during the resurrection of the Lord.
Then He quotes Malachi 3 and 4, the last two chapters of what we know as The Old Testament. In one fell swoop over a couple of chapters, The Savior quotes from their existing scriptures (Brass Plates – Isaiah 54), has them record a scripture from one of their prophets (Samuel), and finally, He gives them 2 new scriptures (Malachi 3 and 4) that they did not know of.
Remember, Malachi lived around 200 years after Lehi left for Jerusalem, so Lehi and his decendants did not have his words. The Nephites were given these scriptures and told that they were for future generations. So we learn a few things from this lesson:
- The scriptures need to be studied, search, pondered and prayed about.
- The Book of Mormon, in particular was written specifically for our day.
A few quotes from modern prophets regarding these verses can help shed some furhter insight into the meaning of components of this lesson.
First, regarding the metaphor of the tent and the Stakes of Zion, found in 3 Nephi 22: 1–3, President Ezra Taft Benson said:
“The prophets likened latter-day Zion to a great tent encompassing the earth. That tent was supported by cords fastened to stakes. Those stakes, of course, are various geographical organizations spread out over the earth. Presently, Israel is being gathered to the various stakes of Zion. …
“… Stakes are a defense for the Saints from enemies both seen and unseen. The defense is direction provided through priesthood channels that strengthens testimony and promotes family solidarity and individual righteousness” (“Strengthen Thy Stakes,” Ensign, Jan. 1991, 2, 4).
Next, regarding Isaiah 54, and the metaphor of the Church as the bride and the Savior as the groom, Quoted by The Savior in 3 Nephi 22: 4–10, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught: “The imagery of Jehovah as bridegroom and Israel as bride is among the most commonly used metaphors in scripture, being used by the Lord and his prophets to describe the relationship between Deity and the children of the covenant.
… Christ has, on occasion, been rightfully angry with backsliding Israel, but that has always been brief and temporary—’a small moment.’ Compassion and mercy always return and prevail in a most reassuring way. The mountains and the hills may disappear.
The water of the great seas may dry up. … But the Lord’s kindness and peace will never be taken from his covenant people. He has sworn with a heavenly oath that he will not be wroth with them forever” (Christ and the New Covenant , 290).
Next we have 3 Nephi 23:1 where The Savior says that we should search these words (the scriptures) and study them. On this subject, Elder Henry B. Eyring said: “We treasure the word of God not only by reading the words of the scriptures but by studying them.
We may be nourished more by pondering a few words, allowing the Holy Ghost to make them treasures to us, than by passing quickly and superficially over whole chapters of scripture” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 115; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 84).
Finally, one of my favorite quotes is based on 3 Nephi 26. In this chapter, Mormon records the fact that The Savior expouned ALL things unto the Nephites. Everything from the creation of the Earth to the end of the Earth. As Mormon was about to abridge the record from the large plates of Nephi (see History of Plates Diagram) regarding this matter, he was stopped and prompted by The Lord to not write them. Rather, he was to record only a small portion, the lesser of the events.
This would be a test to future generations to allow us to prove ourselves to be worthy of the full sealed portions of The Gold Plates. Regarding the sealed plates, President Spencer W. Kimball said: “I have had many people ask me through the years, ‘When do you think we will get the balance of the Book of Mormon records?’
And I have said, ‘How many in the congregation would like to read the sealed portion of the plates?’ And almost always there is a 100-percent response. And then I ask the same congregation, ‘How many of you have read the part that has been opened to us?’
And there are many who have not read the Book of Mormon, the unsealed portion. We are quite often looking for the spectacular, the unobtainable. I have found many people who want to live the higher laws when they do not live the lower laws” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 531–32).
Please take the time to read the scriptures in this lesson (3 Nephi 22, 23, 24, 25, 26). It only takes about 30 minutes or so. Pay particular attention to 23 and 26. In 23, The Savior teaches the value of studying and recording the scriptures, and in 26, we learn of the amazing expounding of the entire gospel and history of the earth.
As Mormon points out, we’re not ready to receive that yet, but just hearing/reading that the account happened is amazing. Remember, we must first take the time to fully understand the principles we have been given: The Atonement (Faith and Repentence). I dare say that none of us has mastered or fully understands The Atonement. This is what’s important to our salvation. Let us study it, and internalize it.