Wednesday, November 26, 2008

31b - Preparations For The Resurrected Jesus Christ's Visit To The Descendants of Lehi

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Painting: Greg K. Olsen

Later in this post, we will begin examining the preparatory challenges faced by the descendants of Father Lehi. These challenges which, if handled well, would have a certain number of them sufficiently prepared for the visit to be made by Jesus Christ in their promised land (in the Americas) soon after his resurrection .

The believing portion of the Nephite-Lamanite nation had been greatly encouraged by the appearance of the signs at the time of the birth of the Savior of the World which had been foretold by their prophets. They were very grateful to have been saved from being executed by the unbelievers for their having expressed their belief that the signs of His birth would soon be seen.

However, it seems that a larger portion of the believers than we'd like to think was the case, needed to face constant tribulation in order to keep progressing actively toward the needed level of preparation to be sufficiently ready for the visit of the resurrected Jesus Christ which had been foretold by all of their prophets.

In earlier posts when telling of preparations among Lehi's people for the First Christmas, I overlooked telling you of one short verse of scripture which, in my view, is very significant. It tells us what their leaders did to help their people to remain righteous.

Jarom, 1: 11 Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently, exhorting with all long-suffering the people to diligence; teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was. And after this manner did they teach them. (emphasis added)
I will use in this post, verses from the Pearl of Great Price and the New Testament, along with paintings by two LDS artists, of Jesus Christ as a teenager, to demonstrate how the young Jesus of Nazareth, was being guided and prepared with the help of others under the over-all direction of His actual father, our Heavenly Father, for His eternal role as the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind.  Jesus was to be fully prepared to visit, after His resurrection, the Nephite-Lamanites and also the (so-called) lost tribes of Israel.

The scriptures make it clear that Jesus was successful in living without sinning. He was preparing, with our Heavenly Father's (His actual father) guidance to be fully qualified for His "ultimate eternal 'job' description" which I feel is marvelously described in the following scripture:

Moses 1:39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Jesus Teaching in the Temple in Jerusalem -by Grant Romney Clawson
Jesus knew who his actual father was and and it appears to me that He had been directed by Him to be teaching those "doctors" in the temple at that time.
Luke 2: 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (emphasis added)
As was done in that land then, Jesus followed in the footsteps of His "step-father", Joseph, in learning a trade, in this case, the carpentry trade. I'm personally sure that if he accidentally hit his thumb with a hard hammer blow, He would have never used foul language. He was preparing for His destiny perfectly.

Jesus Working in Joseph's Carpenter Shop -Painting: Del Parson
In the copy below of this other painting of Jesus as he sat teaching and learning in the Temple He was twelve years of age. In that same year, the Nephite-Lamanites were having great difficulties and were not doing well in becoming prepared for Jesus Christ's visit just twenty-two years away.

Jesus' growth and development was coming along just as it was to be expected from the Son of God. Nonetheless His mother, Mary, was mortal and so then was He. He had much tribulation to go through then and throughout His life, but His calling and election was sure. He would visit the Nephites-Lamanites in His resurrected body, and be fully prepared.

Twelve Year Old Jesus Teaching in the Temple -Painting: Grant Romney Clawson 
When you read the scriptural reference I have given you below you will learn about the Nephite-Lamanite peoples' great tribulations and back-sliding. Don't give up on them! Some of them will be there ready for Him when He, the Savior comes. Listening will make your reading more interesting.

III Nephi 2: 1-19


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Neil Birch

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