Monday, September 12, 2005
Day 3: The Frosting on the Cake
My reading in the past three days has covered 33 years of Nephite time. I've read how the people cycle from wickedness so extreme that they had planned to kill all Christians if the signs of Christ's birth don't appear to a majority of them believing the signs and repenting; then on from creeping wickedness to widespread wickedness so that the Gadianton robbers are about to wipe them out. Then the people begin to rally behind their righteous leaders who brilliantly turn the tables on the robbers, putting them on the defensive when they go into hiding with all their goods. With no wild game, no people to plunder and the Nephites conducting "gorilla warfare" on them, the robbers are wiped out in a few years. The people return to their lands and peace for a couple of years till the Kingmen resurrect the covenants of murder and conspiracy to overthrow the government, tear apart the society and murder the prophets and saints.
Then there are the signs of the Savior's crucifixion and resurrection with major earthquakes, fires, and massive loss of life. Christ speaks to the devastated survivors saying: " Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen! " 3 Nephi 9:2 He then names an extensive list of destroyed cities and tells the people that this happened to to those who killed the prophets and the saints. (verse 8) "…that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up any more unto me against them."
He then again mourns and laments ( 3 Nephi 10: 4-6)
"4] O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.
 And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.
 O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart." We feel his pain as we read these words of remorse.
They are then left to mourn, rant, and repent in total darkness for 3 days. Christ has spoken as the God of Justice. He has again followed His Father's will and "drunk the bitter cup.'' He has done the necessary deed, even though it has caused him sorrow and pain.
Then a new day dawns and a brighter day begins. A voice from heaven interrupts the survivors who are now humble, repentant and rejoicing to be alive. A still small voice comes. First they are confused as to the source and message. The voice comes again, and again till on the third time, all can understand it, and they turn their eyes heavenward as they locate its source. It is the voice of God, the Eternal Father doing the most important task he does, witnessing of His Son and inviting his children to "hear ye him." 3 Nephi 11:7
Now we have reached the pinnacle of the Book of Mormon: the cause for its existence, the frosting on the cake. Christ appears in the flesh. Now he comes as the God of Love, the Redeemer, and the Savior of those who have not rejected him.
 And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.
 And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.
 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:
 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.
 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.
Someday, I will meet my Savior. Will I meet the God of Justice who will sadly remind me of all my unrepented sins and turn me away from his sight? Will I suffer as he suffered?
Or will I meet the God of Love, my Savior who will embrace me and invite me to feel the prints of the nails in his hands and feet. "Carol, feel how I suffered because I love you." He will say. "And because you repented of your sins and endeavored to follow my example, you need not suffer as I have suffered. Return with me to the presence of our Father and know eternal bliss and perfect love."
What a sweet sensation of love I feel in my heart as I read these words. Now you know why I read 3rd Nephi twice each time I read the Book of Mormon. I've always been fond of sweets and this is a double dose of frosting for me.
Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!