3 Ne 27:1-28:40
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Relationship to Third Nephi. The relationship of Chapters 27-28 to the rest of Third Nephi is discussed at Third Nephi.
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- Chapter 27: Structure. We can see a topical chiasmus spanning most of this chapter.
A v.7-9. Leaders to pray to the Father in Christ's name for the Church. B v.10-15. Works and judging. C v.16-17. How to be judged spotless at the last day. D v.18a. The Word of God. D' v.18b The Word of God. C' v.19-20. How to be judged spotless at the last day. B' v. 21-27. Works and judging. A' v.28-29. Leaders to pray to the Father in Christ's name for the Church
- This is my gospel. Traditionally we understand Christ's gospel to be what we read in the chiastic sections C and C' - Repentence, Baptism, Holy Ghost, Endure to End. However, it is in sections B and B' where Christ actually says, "this is my gospel". These sections are focused not on Faith, Repentence, Baptism, etc., but on doing the will [works] of the Father.
- Verses 10-11 show that there are three types of works performed in Christ's church:
- Works of the Father
- Works of men, and
- Works of the devil.
- And the last two types get us "hewn down and cast into the fire".
- Christ did the will/works of the Father (v.13),
- and he expects us to do what we have seen Christ do (ie. the will/works of the Father) (v.21).
- And that constitutes Christ's gospel according to His word.
- 3 Ne. 27:1-5. It is interesting to see that the disciples were gathered together in mighty prayer and fasting. It appears as though they were beginning to catch on to the fact that disputations are bad and that unity and prayer are good. Christ mentions several times previously about how there were dissentions among them about how to do things and He told them that contentions were of the devil. I think this teaches a good lesson for marriage or other sorts of relationships--that we should unite in prayer and fasting rather than allow disputations separate us. Notice that in answer to their question of what to call the church, Christ launches in to a lengthy and chiastically organized discourse that extends beyond the scope of their question.
- 3 Ne. 27:7: Sake. According to the Webster's 1828 Dictionary sake means roughly 1) for the purpose of obtaining or 2) on account of. (See the full definition here.) Christ tells us to call on the Father in his name so that he will bless the church for Christ sake. Christ's role here is as mediator between us and the Father. See Heb 9:14-15. In this reading, sake means something like "because of" or "on account of"--see Webster's 2nd definition in the lexical notes above. It is because of or as a result of the atonement that the Father blesses us.
- 3 Ne. 27:8. This verse answers the question, "What should the name of Christ's church be?" which seems to be an important question shown by the manner in which the Savior spoke to His disciples. Like the Church, each of us should take upon ourselves the name of Christ personally.
- 3 Ne. 27:10-11. Here Christ seems to be saying that there are three levels/types of works that can be performed in His church. Note that the last two will get you "hewn down and cast into the fire".
- Works of the Father
- Works of men, and
- Works of the devil.
- 3 Ne. 27:18. This verse is the chiastic center of this chapter. Often Christ is the subject of the center verses of a chiasm in the scriptures. Christ is the one giving this discourse, so he deferentially gives the central position to His Father.
- 3 Ne. 27:27: Even as I am. What does it mean to be "even as Christ is"? This verse immediately follows a chiasmus which spans most of this chapter. That chiasmus emphasizes that we must follow God's commands and do his works. The fact that Jesus has just emphasized this point and ends telling us that we must be like him, suggests that the key characteristic we should emulate in following him is that like him we should be perfect in doing the works/will of the Father.
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- 3 Ne. 27:2-3: It is fascinating that when Christ asks, "What will ye that I shall give unto you?" (ie. What do you desire that I should give you?), instead of saying, "Give us power to rend mountains," or "Give us Eternal Life," they ask, "What do you want us to call your church?". Was this a missed opportunity?
- 3 Ne. 27:7: For my sake. Why does Christ say that the Father will "bless the church for my sake"? Why would the Father bless the church for Christ's sake?
- 3 Ne. 28:3: The Lord is telling some of his disciples that they shall come unto him when they reach the age of 72. Is there any significance to the age 72? Why would he tell them that? Note the fulfillment of this prophecy in 4 Ne 1:14.
- 3 Ne. 28:12: He touched every one. Why did Jesus only touch the nine disciples who were to go speedily to the Kingdom of God and not the three who were to tarry upon the earth until His second coming? A related question would be this: God never changes (Morm 9:9-10, 19). By deductive reasoning, this means that his ordinances do not change either. Would the touching of the nine disciples as mentioned above constitute an ordinance? If so, did Christ touch all of his Apostles in the old world with the exception of John the Beloved?
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