3 Nephi 23:1-14 — LeGrand Baker — those who were resurrected immediately after the Savior

3 Nephi 23:1-14

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?
10 And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled.
11 And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?
12 And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written.
13 And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded.

This exchange between Jesus and the Twelve asks some intriguing questions, but does not supply the answers. When did it happen? The answer to that is probably immediately after the Savior’s resurrection. That would be consistent with this account in Matthew:

51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. [ JST Matthew 27:56 reads: “And the graves were opened; and the bodies of the saints which slept, arose, who were many.”]
54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God (Matthew 27:51-54).

If the timing of the multiple resurrections on both continents happened at the same time, then the people in America were aware of the Savior’s resurrection a full year before he appeared at the Bountiful temple. {1}

The account of these resurrections were were added to the Nephite history, but Mormon did not include it in his abridgement for us, nor did he tell us about them until he recorded this conversation. Why?

I think I know the answer, but it is, of course, only my opinion:

In Who shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord, Stephen Ricks and I have shown that Mormon wrote his account of 3 Nephi in much the same sequence as the final scenes of the ancient Israelite temple drama. It concludes, as does the drama, with the coronation of the king (in this case it was the Savior) and the beginning of a new age as reported in 4 Nephi. The more nearly he approached the Savior’s enthronement ceremony, the more closely he adhered to the pattern of the temple rites. The reason he did this seems quite obvious: His intent was to show that the Savior was the legitimate Priest and King, and that in following the rites of the temple, he had fulfilled all of that important part of the Law.

So the answer to why Mormon left it out of his abridgement is simple: If he had told about the resurrection before he told about the Savior’s coming to Bountiful, it would have messed up the sequence of the events of the story he wanted to tell. And it was important to him that we understand that the Savior’s coronation was performed with perfect correctness — righteousness — zedek.


{1} Mormon was very careful to let the record show that a year had passed he wrote:

5 And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land (3 Nephi 8:5).

18 And it came to pass that in the ending of the thirty and fourth year, ……. that soon after the ascension of Christ into heaven he did truly manifest himself unto them (3 Nephi 10:18).






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