Friday, October 21, 2016

3 Nephi 23: Jesus Likes Scriptures

Jesus publicly endorses Isaiah before moving on to some slightly less unoriginal material.

Dead Simple
Verse 5 distills all the complexity of the gospel and the Plan of Salvation down to one arguably non-doctrinal concept:
And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things.
If that's all we need, why do we have thousands of pages of scripture?  If those are the only requirements for salvation, why does the modern church place so much emphasis on temple covenants, tithing, eternal marriage, puritanical observances, and plenty of other things that don't factor into Jesus's summary of the gospel at all?

Messianic Fact-Checking
Here's an awkward moment.  Jesus asks Nephi to show him the records he's been keeping and our favorite irritable savior of the world says this (verse 9):
Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?
This seems to be a reference to a casual prediction in the midst of Samuel's destruction-and-horror section (Helaman 14:25):
And many graves shall be opened, and shall yield up many of their dead; and many saints shall appear unto many.
And then the following exchange takes place, give or take a little creative license (verses 10-13):
DISCIPLES: Yeah, he totally prophesied that.
JESUS: How come you didn't write that down, Nephi?
NEPHI: D'oh!
JESUS: Write it down, stupid!
So...then Nephi wrote it down.  I have no idea what possible doctrinal contribution these verses supposedly make to the Book of Mormon, but they sure make Nephi look like a dunce. Way to humiliate your prophet in front of his friends, Jesus. Not cool.

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