Miracles are performed, prophecies given and fulfilled, repentance is taught with power and authority, and yet the people vacillate between obedience to and rebellion against God.
1 Nephi 13:5
3 Nephi 16:10-13
3 Nephi 20:45
One thing I noticed about the timing of Christ’s birth in relation to Samuel’s prophecy is that it was more than 5 years, but less than six. We know that Samuel came in the 86th year (no specifics about when in the year), so five years would be in the 91st year. However, the 91st year passed away and nothing had happened. In the beginning of the 92nd year, the prophecies began to be fulfilled more fully (but we don’t know what that looked like) and there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people, but there was still no night without darkness – until it happened.
It might appear that the unbelievers were chomping at the bit to get rid of those pesky Christians, but there is also a legal justification for what was decreed. Deuteronomy 18:20-22 talks about what the Lord’s people are to do with false prophets. “But the prophet which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
The big religious debate among the children of Lehi had always been whether or not salvation comes through Christ. They had fought wars over whether there should be Christ or not, and here was finally a definite “thus saith the Lord” prophecy about a specific event to happen at a specific time. The debate could be settled once and for all.
My recollections from Primary/Sunday School are that the day the unbelievers picked was the day of Jesus’s birth. I don’t know if I just interpreted the instructions that way or if others have/had this understanding. Years later, it started to bother me that the wicked had essentially forced God’s hand. They picked the date and if He waited longer they would have killed His followers. It wasn’t until I went back and took a closer look at the scriptures to see my misunderstanding.
3 Nephi 1:9 states that the unbelievers picked a day that the birth had to happen by. But 3 Nephi 1:10 states that when Nephi saw the wickedness of the people he was sorrowful. 3 Nephi 1:11, to me, reads that day is the day Nephi was sorrowful. So on the day Nephi saw the wickedness of the people (I believe it would be the day Nephi learned of the wicked plan to kill Christians by a certain date out in the future) he cried unto the Lord. And it was the same day Nephi prayed that the Lord answered and told him the prophecy would be fulfilled that very night. So it wasn’t the night before the wicked deadline but it was the night Nephi prayed it would happen, and those are two different days.
Also, here’s an interesting take on 3 Nephi 1:14:
“As you read 3 Nephi 1:14, it may be helpful to understand that the Being who spoke fills two roles and was speaking from both perspectives: as Jehovah (who is the Father by divine investiture of authority) and as Jesus Christ, the soon-to-be mortal Son of God.”
“”This is a most difficult passage. It sounds as though the Lord is stating that he will come into the world to fulfill two wills- the will of Jehovah, the premortal God of the ancients (perhaps referred to here as ‘me’), and the will of the mortal Messiah (the person of ‘flesh’). Of course we know that they, Jehovah and Jesus, are one and the same being. At the same time, this statement dramatizes the separate and severable roles that would be played by the Master, that of the Holy One of Israel (premortal) and that of Jesus of Nazareth (mortal).” (McConkie, Millet, and Top, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, p. 7)”
Ranae – Good insight into Deuteronomy 18. It reminds me of Saul zealously persecuting the Christians as he tried to defend his traditions. Not necessarily with evil intent, but misguided intent.
Mike – you’re right, the scriptures don’t explicitly link the date to kill the Christians to the date that Nephi prays. And it’s unlikely that they only gave the Christians a 24 hour notice. I speculate that they likely would have picked the date at the beginning of the sixth year after Samuel’s prophecy, at which point the sign would have failed to appear at any point in the fifth year as predicted. That could have still been months away when Nephi prayed.
SLC has to twist and contort the words of Christ so much to get them to fit into the Elohim/Jehovah paradigm they inherited from Brigham’s Adam-God doctrine and refuse to renounce. It’s sad. When we get to 3 Nephi 20-25, Jesus completely destroys the false doctrine that the Father is not Jehovah by repeatedly declaring the Father to be the very YHWH that spoke to the Old Testament prophets and made a covenant with Abraham. Which creates quite the conundrum, because Joseph Fielding Smith declared in Doctrines of Salvation (and the Church continues to include in their lesson material – this quote is directly from lds.org….er, churchofchrist.org):
“All revelation since the fall has come through Jesus Christ, who is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. … The Father [Elohim] has never dealt with man directly and personally since the fall, and he has never appeared except to introduce and bear record of the Son”.
Whom to believe…the resurrected Christ speaking in the Book of Mormon? Or Joseph Fielding Smith as edited by Bruce R. McConkie?
I agree they have to tie themselves into knots to try to make their concept of Elohim/Jehovah work. I don’t think the passage is very difficult if you read it with the Lectures on Faith handy!
On the topic of the people becoming numb and unreceptive to the greater signs and miracles, I think part of the reason will be that it won’t just be God’s servants performing miracles. I think Satan will deceive the people with as much as he can do to confound and minimize those things that today would amaze and astound people.
I’ve read elsewhere speculation about some of the end-times and of how Satan fully sets up his kingdom right around the same time as the servants redeem Zion.
Revelation 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
This beast that was, and is not and shall ascend describes someone who once lived on earth, but who has died and will come back to life again. Notice how he is both one of the seven kings and also the eighth king, who takes the place of the future 7th king who is not yet come? The speculation I have read is that this king is Nimrod, who they believe was behind the construction of the Tower of Babel. If this is true, then besides the servants returning to earth from the dead, there will be a wicked king return to earth from the dead.
The way I see it, the return of this person would diminish the significance of the return of the true servants in the eyes of many in the world. This miracle would be something that people would start to rationalize and dismiss. Perhaps there will be a lot of people who are returning from the dead, and it becomes somewhat commonplace? There will be signs and wonders, but both sides will be performing them.
Our job is to recognize the signs and the wonders and identify the true ones, the ones that match up with the word of God and follow those servants. It’s likely to be a confusing and tumultuous time for those who don’t hold fast to the iron rod.
A type of sign that I don’t hear people talking about much are those in the heavens.
“And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Gen. 1:14)
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matt. 2:1-2)
Luke 21:25-28 includes Jesus telling us what signs to watch for before the second coming: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars., and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken”
I can see how there can be many signs in the heavens signaling something significant is about to happen, but without a prophet to interpret what it is and how it affects us those things would quickly pass into memory. For example, 2014-2015 had 4 blood moons occurring on Jewish holidays. It was significant enough to catch people’s attention, but some dismissed it because they don’t know what it was supposed to indicate, others dismissed it because they were visible in America and not Israel.
SIGNS IN THE MOON
(The following content was copied from http://live.mapleknoll.us/bloodmoons.html)
Basically, the blood moon tetrad (BMT) is a succession of two total lunar eclipses occurring on two Jewish holy days in one year and another two total lunar eclipses on the exact same holy days in the following year, with no other lunar eclipses, partial or total, in between.
Interestingly, the Jewish holy days involved always include the first of the seven feasts mandated in Leviticus 23, Passover, and the last of the Levitical feasts, Tabernacles, also known as Sukkot.
Lunar eclipses are called blood moons because of the reddish color the moon takes on during the eclipse. While lunar eclipses are not uncommon, the blood moon tetrad phenomenon is.
Here is a list of the blood moon tetrads that have occurred since the time of Christ:
14 April 32 – Passover
7 October 32 – Tabernacles
3 April 33 – Passover
27 October 33 – Tabernacles
17 April 162 – Passover
11 October 162 – Tabernacles
6 April 163 – Passover
30 September 163 – Tabernacles
9 April 795 – Passover
3 October 795 – Tabernacles
28 March 796 – Passover
21 September 796 – Tabernacles
30 March 842 – Passover
23 September 842 – Tabernacles
19 March 843 – Passover
12 September 843 – Tabernacles
9 April 860 – Passover
3 October 860 – Tabernacles
30 March 861 – Passover
22 September 861 – Tabernacles
12 April 1493 – Passover
25 September 1493 – Tabernacles
22 March 1494 – Passover
15 September 1494 – Tabernacles
13 April 1949 – Passover
7 October 1949 – Tabernacles
2 April 1950 – Passover
26 September 1950 – Tabernacles
24 April 1967 – Passover
18 October 1967 – Tabernacles
13 March 1968 – Passover
6 October 1968 – Tabernacles
15 April 2014 – Passover
8 October 2014 – Tabernacles
4 April 2015 – Passover
28 September 2015 – Tabernacles
…Occurs around the time of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ
…Occurs shortly after Christopher Columbus rediscovered the New World in 1492. The New World later became a sanctuary to Jews fleeing persecution in the Old World.
…Occurs shortly after the Jewish state of Israel is founded in 1948 and around the time that Israel wins its first war, enabling it to remain a sovereign state.
…Occurs around the time of the Six Day War (1967), during which Israel captured Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
…??? So far we have seen Israel’s staunchest ally, the USA, turn against Israel in the UN.
BMT-7, BMT-8, & BMT-9
…From the start of BMT-7 to the end of BMT-8 is 19 years. From the start of BMT-8 to the end of BMT-9 is 48 years. Notice anything significant about when you put 19 and 48 together? Like the year, 1948, when Israel was founded?
BMT-3, BMT-4, & BMT-5
…From the end of BMT-5 to the start of BMT-4 is 19 years. From the end of BMT-4 to the start of BMT-3 is 48 years. Here we have the same pattern as above, only in reverse.
(end of copied content)
SIGNS IN THE SUN
There was a total solar eclipse that crossed the the US on August 21, 2017. The next total solar eclipse to cross the US will be just 6 1/2 years later on April 8, 2024, visible in its totality from Texas to Maine.
SIGNS IN THE STARS
(copied from Wikipedia Revelation 12 sign prophecy)
The Revelation 12 sign prophecy is an apocalyptic belief that an astronomical alignment on September 23, 2017 fulfilled the first two verses of Revelation 12. This date coincided with the Autumnal equinox and the end of the Catholic September Ember Days. This theory, promoted by some Christians and Christian news organizations, proposed that a literal fulfillment of the prophecy made in the Book of Revelation 12:1-2 occurred on this date over Jerusalem.
The passage in the Book of Revelation 12:1-3 describes “a woman clothed with sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.” (NIV). Some people believe that an astronomical alignment involving the constellations Virgo and Leo, the sun, moon, and planets Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter that occurred in September 2017 fulfilled this prophecy word-for-word.
UPON THE EARTH DISTRESS OF NATIONS, WITH PERPLEXITY
See the news
THE SEA AND THE WAVES ROARING
I live in the desert, so I might miss this one personally. However I do hear there are two hurricanes developing in the Gulf of Mexico this week – something that usually doesn’t happen
I guess my point in writing this is that these are the kinds of signs that cannot be faked (no one can manipulate the stars and moon) but because they are natural occurrences, they can be easily dismissed as coincidences and people return to their normal habits when something Biblical doesn’t happen soon afterward. It was 34 years between the sign of Christ’s birth and the destruction of the wicked at the time of his death. I don’t really think that the miracles that Nephi was doing was to convince people that he had the power of God and that they should listen to him. Those miracles were signs to those who already believed and had faith. Christ worked the same way. There were faithless people in his day among whom he could not work miracles. If we see supernatural power being used as a means to draw followers, be careful.
I think we’ve lost a lot of knowledge about what those signs in the heavens are. So many people now live in urban areas without the ability to really see what the night sky actually looks like.
For a fulfillment of signs in the heavens and upon the earth, I think the two solar eclipses taking place in 2017 and 2024 which both cross the continental US and appear to intersect near Jackson County MO would be a possibility.
We may be fortunate enough to get someone like Samuel the Lamanite to give a simple, clear sign to look for. But if not, it’s up to us to study and search and seek out them out.
I’ve always wondered if the beast that was and is not and is, is actually Satan coming to earth to set up his own kingdom more fully. Or perhaps his representative. Kind of an anti-joseph if you will, just like he’s the true antichrist. But in any case the scriptures are full of examples of Satan showing up to thwart God in greater measure the greater God appears. It really is the ultimate opposition in all things that is necessary for us to make a choice. Right now we live in shades of gray so the fullness of salvation isn’t available but neither is damnation. You need the contrast of the sun and the shade. The brightness of God’s glory vs. the darkness of Satan. For example, think of Moses in JST Genesis. Satan shows up right after Moses speaks with God and he can see the contrast between them. Satan appeared to try and stop Joseph from praying. He appeared again at the morley farm. He showed up before Jesus started His ministry. So, yes I am convinced that as Zion begins to shine forth, Satan is going to role out Babylon on an even greater level because he has to oppose God in everything and give everyone a choice. No more shades of gray, but only the light and the dark. That’s it. Everyone will have to choose, and Satan is going to pull out all the false miracles and false prophets the fake zion fake everything to drag as many down as he can. And it will be up to all of us to hold to the rod and be instruments in God’s hand to save as many as we can.
That’s kind of what I was thinking, simply that “Was and Is Not” seems to be the opposite of “I AM”
While Satan is at the core of Babylon and opposition to God, I think the beast and false prophet are different than Satan. I think these are people who fulfill Satan’s wishes while trying to deceive everyone.
There are some passages that do make things muddy, but Satan, the being who tempted Eve, may have been part of the Divine Council, the original rebel. If so, then he would not have been created to come to this earth, he would have been around prior to this creation, while the spirits of those of us born into this world were created on the 6th day of creation.
Revelation 19:20 – 20:3 seems to indicate all 3 of them, the beast, the false prophet, and the devil have similar fates. The first 2 are cast into the lake of fire, while Satan is locked in the bottomless pit.