3 Nephi 9:15 — LeGrand Baker — Jesus’s autobiographical introduction

3 Nephi 9:15 — LeGrand Baker — Jesus’s autobiographical introduction

3 Nephi 9:15
15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.

Wilfred Griggs once told me that he asked Hugh Nibley if he had ever considered writing a commentary on the gospel of John. Nibley replied that he had not because it would take 300 or 400 pages before he got to verse 6.

This verse in the Savior’s self-introduction is like that. It reads like a review of Christ’s eternal mission which is the same as his eternal biography.

15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God.

The Nephies would not have heard the English words “Jesus Christ.” They would have had no meaning for them. He would have used the Hebrew equivalent of “Jesus” which is “Joshua.” It means “Jehovah Saves,” or as our Bible dictionary says, “Savior.” “Christ” is equivalent to the Hebrew “Messiah” which means “The Anointed One.” What the Nephites would have heard is “I am the Savior Anointed, the Son of God.”

Christ was anointed to be the Savior at the Council in Heaven. In the beginning, he was the First Born and Birthright Heir of his Heavenly Father, just as he was the Only Begotten Son and Heir in this world.

I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.

Those first five verses of John say it just a bit differently:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not (John 1:1-5).

The Prophet Joseph’s personal testimony says it still more powerfully:

And now after all of the proofs made of him,
By witnesses truly, by whom he was known,
This is mine, last of all, that he lives; yea, he lives!
And sits at the right hand of God on his throne.

And I heard a great voice bearing record from heav’n,
He’s the Saviour and only begotten of God;
By him, of him, and through him, the worlds were all made,
Even all that careen in the heavens so broad.

Whose inhabitants, too, from the first to the last,
Are sav’d by the very same Saviour of ours;
And, of course, are begotten God’s daughters and sons
By the very same truths and the very same powers.{1}

I was with the Father from the beginning.

Many scriptures testify this is true, but The Book of the Secrets of Enoch (an ancient apocryphal writing that may well have been written by Enoch) says it a more explicitly: “even before the very beginning.”{2}

I am in the Father, and the Father in me;

We have already discussed this beautiful doctrine as it is explained by Abinadi in Mosiah 15:1-7.

and in me hath the Father glorified his name.

That has multiple references from the Council in Heaven; To Christ as the Creator acting as his Father’s agent; To Christ’s life on this earth where John records the Father’s testimony:

26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again (John 12:26-28).

To Gethsemane; to the cross, To the Savior’s authorizing the righteous spirits to teach the gospel To those in the spirit prison; To his resurrection; To his final coronation after his resurrection as recorded by Paul.

19… according to the working of his [the Father’s] mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (Ephesians 1:19-23).

A careful study of 3 Nephi 9:15 would take way more than 400 pages.

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FOOTNOTES

{1}The Vision, a poem by Joseph Smith published in the Times and Seasons, February 1, 1843.

{2}Book of the Secrets of Enoch, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English, 2 vols. Translated and edited by R. H. Charles. 2: 431-69. Oxford: Clarendon, 1976. The quote is from 24:2.
Enoch was considered as scripture in New Testament times: Jude 1:14-15 is a quote from The Book of Enoch 1:9.

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