Tuesday, December 23, 2008

33c - The Resurrected Jesus Christ's Ministry in Ancient America

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The Resurrected Jesus -by Harry Anderson

In this, the third post in a series in which we are learning about the Savior's Ministry among the descendants of Father Lehi, the Nephites of ancient Central America; I will make an effort to help us understand just what our Resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ's plan was during this extended visit to this group of people who lived in the Western Hemisphere of this earth. Actually, it was a series of visits in a relatively short span of time.

I will quote a scripture I have used before in several other blog posts to describe what our Savior's sacred "job description" is.
Moses 1:39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
When our Savior, undertakes to save those who are of His sheep fold, it is sure that He sets a plan that will bring about their being saved if they, His followers, continue to live worthy of being saved. The scriptures emphasize the free agency of mankind.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Those of His sheep who were in Palestine, chose to follow Him faithfully and were witnesses of His atonement and resurrection. The Lord was successful in teaching and preparing them, and then left the work in their hands of preaching the gospel to others of the House of Israel and afterwards, to the Gentiles too. The Savior then went on to the Western Hemisphere to gather his "other sheep" about which He had told them (John 10:16).

However, His apostles and other followers in Palestine did not understand Him. We understand Him because in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, He told the Nephites to whom He came, this:
III Nephi 15: 21 And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
22 And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.
23 And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice—that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost.
24 But behold, ye have both heard my voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me.
The Nephites had been helped since the days of Father Lehi and His fourth son Nephi, and fifth son, Jacob, to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ to visit their descendants in their promised land located in the Western Hemisphere, and most likely, in what we now call Central America. This preparation was helped by all of the many prophets among them over the 634 years from when they left Jerusalem to when the Savior appeared to them shortly after His resurrection.

The key prophet who worked very hard to prepare them from not long before our Savior's birth was also named Nephi, as was his father. He was a direct descendant of Nephi, the son of Lehi. Now, the bigger picture of what was happening among the Nephites of which our Lord and Savior had full knowledge was that while those who were being prepared through the prophecies and teachings of faithful Nephi, there were many Nephites who were scorning the words of the prophet Nephi. Here is one example of Nephi's righteous priesthood power:
III Nephi 7:18 And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily.
19 And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people.
You may remember that they had been foiled in their plot to execute all the believers in the prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite prophet if the signs he had prophesied of showing the coming of the Lord did not come before a certain day.

You have read before in these posts, that after praying all day long this prophet Nephi was told by the voice of the Lord that he would be born the following day and that the signs would all be shown as Samuel had prophesied. When these signs that had been prophesied of appeared, the planned executions were foiled and it was those who had chosen not to follow the prophets who were distraught:
III Nephi 1:16 And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand.

The holy scriptures, both of the Old World, the Bible, and the Book of Mormon in the New World are filled with examples of natural disasters such as the great flood of Noah's day that eliminated all human life except for Noah and his family. God, Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ allowed that because most all living souls had rejected His way of life and instead had fully endorsed Satan's plans for their lives.

Mortal life is something which Satan and his followers wouldn't have because they had rejected their (and our)Heavenly Father's plan which had been endorsed by and defended by Jesus Christ at the time we were all (including Satan and his followers) in the spirit world where we all had spirit bodies because this earth had not yet be formed.

Noah and his family lived righteously for a time and then the pattern of apostasy which has been repeated often in this world's often sad history, raised its ugly head once again.

Well, we find that pattern of apostasy in great measure had taken place in the Western Hemisphere. The unbelievers who lived according to their lusts and unrighteous desires suffered the consequences of their choices. I'd like you to read and listen to Chapter 8 of III Nephi from the Book of Mormon again so you can remember more clearly what their choices of living styles brought them. Its not a very pretty picture:

III Nephi 8: 1-25

Now, after having read that many times in my life, reading and listening to it again made me shudder and grieve for those who died in the destruction they had, in effect, brought upon themselves as was the case of the many millions of lives lost in the great flood of Noah's day.

Now would be the best time for you and me to read and listen to the next chapter in which we learn that the people who remained alive after the cataclysmic seismic event had taken the lives of so many, heard the voice of Jesus Christ speaking to them. You may have listened to and read this chapter in connection with an earlier post of mine. Please listen again! After really absorbing this next scripture you will much better understand why the Nephites to whom the resurrected Jesus appeared, were so teachable and willing to obey Him.

We will continue learning more about the Savior's words and actions and the reactions of the Nephite people.

For sure the Savior had a plan and it would surely result in eternal blessings to this people whom He was visiting and to their posterity. Wait and see! You can't even begin to imagine the great results that would come from His visits with them!

III Nephi 9:1-22

I realize that you may have read and listened to both of these chapters in an earlier post. However, I wanted you to read them both again to understand that the events described in them really tell us much about the divine plan our Savior, Jesus Christ had for this people that would result in over two hundred years of righteous living and eternal salvation for millions of Nephites!


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