In the past two articles, we learned that the people of the Book of Mormon knew about Jesus Christ through their prophets. They were given signs to tell them when He was born and additional signs to reveal when His death had occurred. The previous article demonstrated that there were terrible storms, earthquakes, and structural changes to the land. Then three days of intense darkness began. There was no sign of the moon or stars; even fires and candles could not pierce the darkness.
Then a voice was heard in the darkness, calling on the people to repent. Imagine how they felt to have a voice coming out of such intense darkness. The people had already realized that if they had repented earlier, the lives of all those that had been lost in the storms might have been saved, and now a heavenly voice confirmed that this was the case. The voice said:
Jesus Christ Speaks to the People of the Book of Mormon
O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they [those who were killed in the destruction], will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.
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 (3 Nephi 9:13-15).
Jesus explained to the people that since He had completed the Atonement, they would no longer be required to perform animal sacrifices. Animal sacrifices had been symbolic and looking towards Christ’s infinite sacrifice. Once His Atonement was complete, He required sacrifices of broken hearts and contrite spirits. They were to repent of their sins and allow Jesus Christ to heal them. This would lead them towards eternal life.
The people were so astonished—despite the prophecies which had foretold of this very event—that they stopped moaning and groaning about their problems. There was complete silence as they pondered what had just happened. Several hours later, Jesus Christ spoke to them again. After He had spoken, the people began crying again for those who had died. Finally, the three days of darkness ended and morning arrived—a morning of beautiful, welcome, and appreciated light. The last remnants of the storm ended and parts of the earth that had been torn apart came back together.
The people stopped wailing and started praising God, thanking Him for returning the world back to normal. They began gathering at the temple to talk about what had happened. As they were at the temple site, they heard a voice in the heavens again. Somehow, though, they were not able to understand what the voice was saying to them. It was not loud or harsh, but it pierced their souls. They began looking around, trying to see where it was coming from. The voice repeated the words, and again they didn’t understand. The third time, however, they realized what was happening and looked heavenward. The voice said, “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him” (3 Nephi 11:7).
Jesus Christ Appears to the People in the Book of Mormon
A man descended from heaven after the voice spoke. He was dressed in a white robe and the people thought He was an angel. They were silent, too nervous to speak.
And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying: Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning” (3 Nephi 11:9-11).
In the next article, we will learn what Jesus did during this time with them and then we’ll talk about why it is so important!
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.
The scripture references in the article are all from Third Nephi.