Monday, December 15, 2008

33a - The Resurrected Jesus Christ's Ministry in Ancient America Begins!

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Note: At the Bottom of this post you will find a special musical video which will help me and you feel the true spirit of Christmas. Be sure to read and view this post which is about our Savior, Jesus Christ, either before or after viewing the video.
The Resurrected Jesus Christ Descends from the Sky in Central America A.D. 34 -by Arnold Friberg
Please read the scripture I have listed just below the Harry Anderson painting of Jesus Christ, showing Him just after He had descended from the sky to visit with the more righteous Nephites. That scripture will allow you to read and listen to what the Nephite people experienced near the temple in their Land, Bountiful, somewhere in what we now call Central America.

The scene depicted just above shows the Lord Jesus Christ just before descending from the sky to begin His ministry among them. (That scene shows that resurrected bodies are capable of doing things that mortal bodies are incapable of. - We all will eventually be resurrected: I Corinthians 6:14; I Corinthians 15:21-26)

The Lord Jesus Christ -by Harry Anderson
Please read this scripture. It will be convenient to Listen to it also. III Nephi 11:1-41

Once again the Nephite people saw sure evidence of the truthfulness of prophecies made through- out their lives. Now, they would witness the fulfillment of prophecies concerning important events that would change and greatly improve their lives and give them an appreciation of the privilege of their each having become actual witnesses of their Resurrected Lord and Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

They were to know and become dedicated followers of Him who had very recently become the first person ever to experience resurrection from the dead; Jesus Christ, who had atoned for all men's sins as their Nephite prophets had prophesied for centuries in that general area of the world we know as the Central American area.

To see the resurrected Lord descend from the sky and then stand before them must have reassured these Nephites immensely and helped each of them know that things were going the way they were supposed to despite there having been such horrendous destruction caused in their land by the seismic experience that had resulted in the death of so many, who were the more unrighteous part of their people (as described in chapters eight and nine of III Nephi).

Any fears they might have had as they first heard a voice speaking to them from the sky, were now certainly gone. Ask yourself how you would have felt if you had been there with them. This was a real event although much different than which they, with the exception of their prophet, Nephi, had ever before experienced.

Let's focus some on what was written which we read and listened to in the scripture above:

III Nephi 11: 6 And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
8 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.
In verse seven above we learn that it was their (and our) Heavenly Father who was speaking to them and introducing His "Beloved Son (Jesus Christ) in whom He was well pleased."

When they saw Jesus descending "out of heaven" (from the sky), they thought they saw an angel. Again, a prophecy they had heard often was being fulfilled before their eyes, the Resurrected Son of God, Jesus Christ, was coming down to meet with them after being introduced by their (and our) Heavenly Father.

In III Nephi 11: 9-12 Jesus reminded them that His coming to them was prophesied of by their prophets (which would include their present prophet, Nephi who no doubt was right there among them). Jesus tells them of the very important fact that He had atoned for the sins of all mankind which was what His father had commanded Him to do.

Here Jesus stresses that which is so crucially important to all of us. Because He atoned for all mankind's sins, we each can receive forgiveness of our sins. I'm sure this truth really began to sink into these Nephites' hearts who were witnesses to all of this, as it does into your and into my own heart, as a blessing greater than we could ever imagine having, because it would allow us, depending on our continuing worthiness, to be able to eventually be resurrected return to live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus, after our deaths.

It must have brought joy and peace to the hearts of those Nephites who witnessed and heard all of this to know that their sins had been atoned for. We can be sure that which Jesus told them would prepare each of them to want to learn from Him what it was He expected of each of them (and of each of us who are reading this).
Our reading this gives us the opportunity to vicariously feel what our Nephite brethren and sisters felt. We can share in their witness by reading and believing what was written for us and for all mankind.
III Nephi 11: 9 And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
11 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.
12 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.
The following verses from that same chapter describe their experiences.
13 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:
14 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.
15 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.
16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.
I recommend that we personally very surely allow ourselves to identify with this group of Nephites who became witnesses of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we continue on with them, learning of their experiences with our Lord and Savior, let's each of us desire to do what each of them did as they were taught by Him. Let's each of us desire with all our hearts to believe in and keep His commandments just as we will learn that this blessed group of Nephites did.

We can use that word, Hosanna (in verse 17) which they used. The LDS Scriptural dictionary tells us:
Hosanna = save now. The word is taken from Ps.
one of the Psalms of the Hallel. The chanting of this psalm was connected at the Feast of Tabernacles with the waving of palm branches; hence the use of the word by the multitudes at our Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:9, 15; Mark 11:9, 10; John 12:13).
I suggest you read again the scripture I asked you to read earlier in this post:  III Nephi 11:1-41. but I suggest you not start at verse 1 but instead begin with verse 18 and read through the last verse in the chapter, verse 41. (You would find it awkward to try using the Listen function allowed you.)

In summary, Jesus gave their prophet-leader, Nephi, the power to baptize. Remember that it was Nephi who was told thirty five years earlier that He, Jesus, was to be born "the following day." Therefore, through the Spirit of Prophecy and Revelation they had already met, on at least the occasion, described below, in the sense that they had communicated on at least, that one time just before He was born to Mary.

Please review all the Savior taught the Nephites in verses 18 though 41 of Chapter 11 of III Nephi. There is more to come. Check back on my next blog post in about three days.

Before you log off I am giving you the opportunity to view a special Christmas Video produced by the BYU Fine Arts Department. I feel this really gives us a true view of what Christmas is all about.

 You will enjoy this video Christmas Card!


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