3 Nephi 11:1-7 — LeGrand Baker — The Father introduces His Son
3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
4 And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
5 And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
6 And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
It was probably important that they did not understand the words the first and second time. The first time they were surprised by it. What they needed — and what they received was the sure witness of the Holy Ghost that the sound they heard was of God, that it was truth, and that it had great value.
The second time they were not surprised but listened in anticipation. Then, the third time, they were ready to understand the words.
The scriptures rarely quote the words of the Father except when he testifies that Jesus in his Beloved Son. Examples are:
Jesus’s baptism: Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:10-12, Luke 3:21-22, D&C 93:14-16.
The accounts differ slightly. Matthew quotes the Father as saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Mark and Luke read that the Father’s words were addressed to Jesus personally: “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
On the Mount of Transfiguration, the Father’s voice was heard “out of the cloud” (veil, shechinah) saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:6-8, Luke 9:34-36)
The apostle Peter, who was present, gives a personal account. It contains interesting elements of priesthood, kingship, and coronation.
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).
And Joseph Smith’s First Vision is the most recent example:
17 … When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (JS-History: 17)
The one in 3 Nephi is unique because it introduces the resurrected Christ as having already achieved the Father’s purposes:
7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him (3 Nephi 11:6-8).
However, there are some notable examples where the Father himself speaks to the prophets. One is when God explained to Moses:
2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down (Moses 4:2-3) .
Another is this where Nephi quotes both Jehovah and his Father in what appears to be a three-way conversation.
11 And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.
12 And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do….
14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.
15 And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. …
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen (2 Nephi 31:11-21).
In the name-title “My Beloved Son,” “beloved” may be read as an adjective, but it is probably not meant to be. Rather the phrase “Beloved Son” is probably a name-title that denotes nobility and birthright. If that is correct, “Beloved” distinguishes him from others and defines him as the Father’s heir.
Psalm 2 is widely acknowledged as the psalm sung by the congregation at the time the king of Israel was anointed as king. There the lines “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” are seen as a conformation of the adoption of the king by Jehovah, and the name title “son” as the royal king-name. If that is correct then we may surmise that “Beloved Son” is also a king-name; but denoting true legitimacy rather than sonship by adoption. (See Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord, the chapter called “Psalm 2, The Ancient Israelite Royal King-name.”