This week in our review of the Book of Mormon we’ll look at chapters 22-27 of 3 Nephi. We saw last week God’s Endtime Servant possesses the spirit and power of Elijah, which we see also in chapter 26 where Yeshua quotes Malachi. But our focus will be on chapter 27 where Yeshua presents basic concepts on the Gospel and states that My Church is built on My Gospel – v.8-10. So then to identify His church, we must know His gospel. The Gospel essentially is the process to become like God. Some Believers have simplified the Gospel down to the point that very little is required for us to become like Him. But the Apostle John stated that we need to search the scriptures to have eternal life and hanging our hat on one or a few verse doesn’t meet this standard – John 5:39. Here in chapter 27, we are tempted to do just that when Yeshua sets out His gospel in a few verses, but what He is doing is providing a few general concepts and it is up to us to fill in the gaps.
Yeshua Names His Church
This first hot topic that we see in chapter 27 is Yeshua naming His church using the name/title of Christ – v.7,8. While the word Messiah has been used elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, here in chapter 27 Yeshua uses the title of Christ, which is a Greek word and not a Hebrew word. The most plausible reason for using the word Christ is because of convention since Christ is commonly known. Some may think that using the title of Christ is a validation of the rejection of the Law, but we have shown in previous posts that Yeshua/Jesus did not abolish the Law, He made it full.
My Church is Built on My Gospel
The next concept that Yeshua introduces is that He states that His church is built on His gospel – v.8-10. So as far as establishing what defines Messiah/Christ’s church, this statement squarely places His doctrines as the defining proof, which we see Yeshua set out later in chapter 27.
The Processes and Doctrines of the Gospel
The Gospel are the processes and doctrines for us to be like God. The scriptures set out these processes and doctrines in a myriad of concepts that we must organize into a coherent order.
We have identified three general categories of sub-processes that we must pass to be like God – Redemption, Sanctification and Exaltation.
Process of Redemption
The first aspect of the gospel that Yeshua addresses is the redemption of man from the sin of Adam and Eve – v.13-15
13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. 14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
Yeshua as Redeemer
Yeshua opens by declaring that the redemption of Humanity rests on Him giving His life for the sin of Adam and Eve so that man one day will receive immortality. Man accepts Yeshua’s sacrifice and redemption by taking on us His name.
Yeshua as the Standard of Righteousness
The second concept we see Yeshua setting out here is that He is the standard by which men’s actions are judged to be good or evil. Here Yeshua requires of men is that they live His basic laws. This basic law are the seven basic laws for all Humanity – the Noahide Laws.
Notice here that the Doctrine of Christ – faith, repentance and baptism – is not included, but appears later when we get to sanctification.
Process of Sanctification
The next section of verses 16-20 sets out the process of sanctification or becoming pure. The key phrase that we see here is being “sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost”. The Holy Ghost testifies of all truth, so to receive the Holy Ghost/Spirit a person becomes sanctified when they live the truth. And the more truth that we live, the purer or more sanctified we become.
Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. - 3 Nephi 27:20
We have already set out this process of sanctification, which looks like this –
So Yeshua is declaring here in chapter 27 that redemption and sanctification comprise the tenets of His Gospel, which defines His church. These are the requirements Yeshua establishes to be His Zion people who are eligible for inheriting the Realm of the Son in eternity.
What we don’t see here in chapter 27 are the processes and doctrines of exaltation or those who inherit the Realm of the Father and enter the Church of the Firstborn. We can conclude that the processes and doctrines of exaltation in their pure form will be revealed when Elijah returns to restore all things.
Process of Exaltation and Church of the Firstborn
We have also already set out the process of exaltation, which in general looks like this –