3 Nephi 9:15-18 — LeGrand Baker — The Savior’s eternal biography
I spoke in Sacrament Meeting today. The assigned subject was the Savior’s life, teachings, Atonement, and resurrection. And I had 15 minutes to do it. I chose to quote scriptures that focused on the Savior’s eternal priesthood and his eternal kingship. Several people asked me for a copy, so I thought some of you might like one too.
(3 Nephi 9:15-18)
The Savior introduced himself to Nephi by saying:
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.
16 I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled.
17 And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled.
18 I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
In those few verses the Savior gives us a snapshot view of his entire eternal autobiography. I would like to review that biography with you. The Prophet Joseph Smith, in the Inspired Version of the Bible, wrote:
1 In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made which was made.
4 In him was the gospel, and the gospel was the life, and the life was the light of men (JST John 1:1-4).
We learn that at the Council in Heaven, in the beginning,
24… there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell.
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them. (Abraham 3:24-25);
1 And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth (Abraham 4:1).
Speaking about the creation, the psalmist sang:
1 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! ….
3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the gods, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! (Psalms 8:1-9)
Thus Adam and Eve were placed upon the earth and the first thing they were taught after they left the Garden was to understand the Savior’s Atonement. In the book of Moses we read that:
6 …after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
7 And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
8 Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore (Moses 5:4-8).
That scripture is familiar to most of us, but in a somewhat different context. Thereafter, Adam and Eve taught the gospel to their children, and Jehovah himself taught his prophets. He showed himself to the brother of Jared and said:
14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters (Ether 3:11-14).
Many hundreds of years later the Lord comforted Nephi with these words:
13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets (3 Nephi 1:13).
30 [several months before that] the angel [came to Mary and ] said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:26-39).
51 And …his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:51-52).
Later, John the Baptist testified,
11 …. I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us (D&C 93:11).
15 And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son.
16 And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;
17 And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, (D&C 93:15-17).
After Jesus organized his church and called the 12 apostles,
1 Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light…
5 … a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him (Matthew 17:1-5).
Peter who was present with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, bore this testimony of the event:
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount (2 Peter 1:16-18).
Nevertheless, as Isaiah testified:
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed…
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no evil, neither was any deceit in his mouth (Mosiah 14:1-12) .
32 [At the conclusion of his ministry, the Savior and the Twelve] came to a place which was named Gethsemane:(Mark 14:22-46).
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:28-49).
Of that agony, Jesus himself testified: that the
18 … suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men (D&C 19:16-19).
The prayer he spoke at that time is found in section 145 of the D&C:
3 Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—
4 Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
5 Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life (D&C 45:1-5).
After his death on the cross, he visited the spirit world of the dead:
18 While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;
19 And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance (D&C 138:18-19).
After 3 days,
11 …Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: —-she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master (John 20:1-17) .
He spent 40 days teaching the apostles and others. Then, “while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9-11).
Paul testified that after that the Savior was crowned king and priest over everything. Paul wrote,
20 [The Father] 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 1:20-23.).
The Prophet Joseph Smith testified:
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.
(“The Vision,” Times and Seasons, Feb. 1, 1843)
That is my testimony also.