3 Ne 11:8-17
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Relationship to Chapter 11. The relationship of Verses 8-17 to the rest of Chapter 11 is discussed at Third Nephi 11.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 8-17 include:
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- In these verses, the Nephites meet Christ at the temple and are given a way to identify him by feeling the "the prints of the nails" in his body. This allowed the Nephites to "know" the Lord (verse 14) and "bear record" of him (verse 15). In modern revelations, we are told that this knowledge of God only comes through the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood, which are performed in temples (D&C 84:19-22).
- In 3 Ne 17:25 we learn that there were 2,500 people at this event. Assuming it took at a minimum 10 seconds for everyone to "one by one" feel his side and his hands then this would have taken at least seven hours, and probably much longer given how some people would have probably not let go too quickly. What would have been your thoughts and emotions while you were waiting in this line?
- Verses 17 & 19: Here the people "did fall down at the feet of Jesus" and Nephi "bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet." Presumably, this was done out of a sense of reverence and worship. The act of bowing occurs in several places in the Book of Mormon (see cross-references at the link below). Many of these instances are in regard to a king. However, kings had not been common among the Nephites for many generations. How might this cultural fact change the significance of the act of bowing? In our non-king, egalitarian-conscious culture, how is the significance of bowing (e.g. when we pray) different than it might be in a society with a king? How is the significance of bowing different in western cultures than in eastern cultures? How might these differences affect our susceptibility to different spiritual temptations?
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Prompts for further study
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- Why would the Lord have people come forward to touch the prints in his hands and feet (verse 14)?
- How did feeling the Lord's wounds help the Nephites identify Christ and "know that [He was] the God of Israel" (verse 14)?
- When might modern Latter-day Saints have occasion to similarly meet Christ in the temple and feel "the prints of the nails" in his body?
- Why were the people asked to "thrust" their hands into the sword scar in his side and only "feel" the scars in his hand?
- Why was the scar on his side significant when we know he was already dead before he was pierced?
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