3 Ne 20:10-23:5

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Home > The Book of Mormon > Third Nephi > Chapter 20b-23a / Verses 20:10-23:5
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Relationship to Third Nephi. The relationship of Chapters 20b-23a to the rest of Third Nephi is discussed at Third Nephi.




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  • 3 Ne. 20:10. Here Jesus returns to His discourse of the previous day, which came rather suddenly to a close with the end of chapter 16 (see the general discussion of the structure of the account of Christ's vision at the beginning of 3 Ne 11). The discourse had come suddenly and climactically to a close with the Savior's quotation of Isaiah in the last few verses of chapter 16, and He makes reference to this same quotation in verse 11 here, suggesting that all of what follows might be understood as a commentary on the particular passage of Isaiah quoted. This is of some significance, particularly because the verses quoted by the Savior are the same verses exactly that had been presented to Abinadi by the priests for interpretation in Mosiah 12. Particularly relevant, perhaps, for the connection between Christ's discourse here and Abaindi's discourse in Mosiah is the slight change to the passage to be found in verse 35 here: "the Lord" is replaced with "the Father," and these words are added as a concluding thought: "and the Father and I are one." There is certainly reason to look at the connection between this discourse and the teachings of Abinadi.
  • 3 Ne. 20:24: All the prophets from Samuel. Does that mean before Samuel? It is followed by "those that follow after" which makes one think so. Why is Samuel the distinguishing prophet mentioned by Christ?
  • 3 Ne. 20:26. This verse concludes a lengthy Book of Mormon parallel to Acts 3:22-26 (beginning in v. 23, discussed further there). In Acts, Peter's speech was interrupted when the temple authorities arrested him; we may imagine that it would have continued as here, or along similar lines. Among other things, the prophecy in v. 27 of the rise of the Gentiles completes the thought begun by "all the kindreds" (= families = Gentiles) in v. 25 and "unto you first" in v. 26.
  • 3 Ne. 21:1. If the great majority of this discourse discusses the intertwining roles of Israel, the Gentiles, and the Jews, here a new element is introduced that permeates the whole interplay of tribes and peoples: the Book of Mormon. However, the role this book of scripture plays is somewhat peculiar: it is offered here as "a sign" of the unfolding history of the covenant (as opposed, at least for now, to being a mover, a key, a means of conversion, etc.). The Book of Mormon is a sign in terms of the Abrahamic covenant.
  • 3 Ne. 21:9. "Work a work" is an example of a literary form called a cognate accusative. This same one appears three times in the other standard works. Once in each of the OT, NT, and D&C: Hab 1:5, Acts 13:41 and D&C 18:44. Look at 1 Ne 8:2 for another example: "dreamed a dream."
  • 3 Ne. 22:6-10: Forsaken. One way to interpret these verses is to interpret "forsaken" as the Lord not allowing us to be in His presence--requiring that we must commune with Him indirectly. In this reading, with the exception of His life on earth and his manifestions to people after His resurrection, it is our time here on earth that we are "forsaken" by Him. This separation we endure here on the earth is sometimes called the veil. But with the Lord's mercy and the blessing of the atonement, we will be gathered and be able to be with Him again someday.

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  • 3 Ne. 20:16: If the Gentiles do not repent, what will happen to them? Is the "ye" in this verse who fulfill the prophecy a wicked or a righteous people? In other words, will this be a case where the wicked punish the wicked (see Morm 4:5)? (Note also the similar prophecy in Morm 5:24.)
  • 3 Ne. 20:19: The Lord is speaking about the second coming and he mentions that he will make "thy horn iron" and "thy hoofs brass". What does he mean by this? He also mentions that he is going to "beat in pieces many people". Does this mean that he is going to bring them to a remembrance of their sins?
  • 3 Ne. 20:23-26: These verses stand in striking parallel to Acts 3:22-26 (on which see commentary). The English wording of the Book of Mormon has obviously been selected in consideration of KJV Acts, and both discuss the same two prophecies, the prophet like unto Moses (Deut. 18: 15, 18) and the seed of Abraham blessing the kindreds of the earth (Gen 22:18 among others), applying them partly to Christ's first coming and partly to the future through the last days. Do the differences between them reflect adaptation to the two audiences, with their differing histories and spiritual conditions? How does the comparison clarify the shared prophetic message?
  • 3 Ne. 20:23: The explicit Acts 3 parallel begins in v. 23 (Acts 3:22), but compare the preceding verses. In what ways can the events and phenomena prophesied in v. 22 be viewed as "restitution[s] of all things ... since the world began"?
  • 3 Ne. 20:32: Jesus talks about watchmen. What is the significance of this?
  • 3 Ne. 20:38: It is interesting to hear the Lord say, "Ye have sold yourselves for naught, and y shall be redeemed without money." It almost seems as though the Lord is saying,"You have done dumb things-sold yourselves for that which is of no worth, but my grace is still sufficient for you because the time will come when you will repent." It's just the way the verse is worded. It made me stop to think, how can we sell ourselves for naught (nothing) and still be redeemed? The grace of Christ is sufficient after all we can do (2 Ne 25:23)
  • 3 Ne. 21:2: Scattered by them. Who is being scattered by whom here?
  • 3 Ne. 21:4: Covenant of the Father. Which covenant is this referring to?
  • 3 Ne. 21:29: The Father says that the lost tribes shall not go out in haste, nor by flight, but that he shall go before them. Where exactly are they going in this scripture and why does he say it shall not be done quickly?
  • 3 Ne. 22:1-2: Why will the children of the desolate be more than the children of the married?
  • 3 Ne. 22:1-2: Are the children referred to literal children or a metaphor for other blessings?
  • 3 Ne. 22:5: This verse seems to suggest that Zion is the desolate and the Lord is her husband. This would suggest that Zion shall be barren but through Christ and His atonement, the children of Zion shall be many. But if the desolate is married, why in verse 1 is she contrasted with the "married wife"?
  • 3 Ne. 22:7: The Lord says that he has only forsaken his people for a small moment. How and when did he forsake them?
  • 3 Ne. 22:9: Given that the Lord's anger is righteous anger, why would he swear not to be wroth with this people?
  • 3 Ne. 22:9: What are the waters of Noah, mentioned in this verse?
  • 3 Ne. 22:15: There are many instances in the scriptures where the prophets recount the words of Isaiah. Is there a reason why he is quoted more than other prophets?
  • 3 Ne. 2216: Does the smith in this verse refer specifically to Joseph Smith?


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  • 3 Ne. 21:25. See this post at the Juvenile Instructor blog regarding Elder George P. Lee and disputed interpretations of this verse.


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