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The Ascension -by Harry Anderson
In this, the third in a series of posts in which we have been learning about the Savior's Ministry among the descendants of Father Lehi, the Nephites; I will make an effort to help you more fully understand just what our Resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ's purpose was during his extended ministry to this nation of Israelites living in the Western Hemisphere of this earth. Actually, it consisted of a series of visits in a relatively short span of time.
I now quote a scripture I've used in several previous posts in describing our Savior's sacred "job description."
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 he surely sets forth a plan that will bring about their being saved if they, his followers, choose to continue to live worthily. The scriptures emphasize the free agency (or the power to choose) of mankind. Here is one example of many others.
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. (emphasis added)Many of Jesus' flock who were in Palestine, chose to follow him faithfully and were witnesses of his atonement and resurrection. The Lord successfully taught and prepared his apostles, and then left the work in their hands of preaching the gospel to others of the House of Israel and soon afterwards, under the guidance of his Spirit, to the Gentiles also.
After his ascension into Heaven, the Savior then went on to the Western Hemisphere to gather his "other sheep" about which He had told them (See John 10:16).
However, his apostles and other followers in Palestine did not understand who those other sheep were. We know that because in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Jesus told the Nephites to whom he came, this:
3 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, to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ to minister to their descendants in their promised land located in the Western Hemisphere, most likely, in what we now call, Central America.)
This preparation was helped along by all of the many faithful prophets among them over the 634 years from when they left Jerusalem to when the Savior appeared to them not long after his resurrection.
The key prophet who worked very hard preparing the faithful Nephites from even 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 had happened earlier 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 his and the words of another significant prophet, Samuel the Lamanite.
3Nephi 7:19 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 those scorners had been foiled in their plot to execute all the believers of the prophecies of Samuel if the signs he had prophesied of, concerning the coming of the Lord, did not appear by 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, Jesus Christ, would be born the following day and that the signs would each appear then as Samuel the Lamanite prophet had prophesied. When all these signs then appeared, the planned execution was foiled and it was those who had chosen not to follow the prophets who were distraught:
The holy scriptures, of both the Old World, the Bible; and the Book of Mormon, in the New World are filled with examples of disruptive natural disasters in the past, 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 at that time, rejected God's way of life and had instead, fully endorsed Satan's plans for their lives.
3Nephi 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. (emphasis added)
Noah's Preaching Scorned -by Harry Anderson
The Ark is Loaded -by Clark Kelley Price
After the Great Flood, Noah and his family lived righteously for a time and then the pattern of apostasy which has so sadly been oft repeated in this world's history appeared again. Now in our day and time on earth, it has again raised its very ugly head.
Well, that pattern of apostasy had also, in great measure, taken place in the Western Hemisphere by A.D. 34. The unbelievers there,who were living according to their lusts and unrighteous desires, suffered the consequences of their choices. I'd like you to once again read and listen to Chapter 8 of 3Nephi from the Book of Mormon so you can remember more clearly what their choices of living styles brought them. Its not a very pretty picture:
3 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 who lost their lives in the great flood of Noah's day, by not heeding Noah's pleas to join him and his family in their ark.
Now perhaps would be the best time for you and me to read and listen again to Chapter Nine of 3Nephi, in which we learn that the people who remained after the cataclysmic seismic event had taken the lives of so many, heard the voice of Jesus Christ speaking to them from the sky.
You may have listened to and read this chapter in a very recent post of mine. Please listen again! After really absorbing this scripture you will much better understand why the Nephites to whom the resurrected Jesus appeared, were so teachable and so willing to obey him. In following posts we will learn more about the Savior's words and actions and the reactions of the Nephite people.
We should understand that our Savior, Jesus Christ, had a plan and it would surely result in eternal blessings for this people among whom he was ministering and would bring great blessings to their posterity. Wait and see! You can't even begin to imagine the great results that would come from his ministry among them! Please follow the instructions given above regarding listening to as well as reading these scriptural links.
3 Nephi 9:1-22
Again, I realize that you may have read and listened to both of these chapters in a fairly recent post. However, I suggested you read both of them again so you can more fully comprehend that the events described show 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.
Please left click on the link just below to view this most recent Mormon Messages video. Until about Christmas Day of December, 2009, this will link you to a Very Special Christmas Message. These messages are changed automatically on a regular basis.
Also, just in case you have not yet had the opportunity of experiencing the very special Brigham Young University Video first shown in this blog in December 2008, which I have been offering again this year in recent posts. Here it is again for you to view if you so choose.
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