Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Friday, April 10, 2020

“He Shall Rise … with Healing in His Wings”

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Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog

This is Easter weekend, and we are living in the middle of a world wide pandemic. The entire world is in crisis and commotion, things we could never before begin to imagine are now happening. Where do we turn, what do we do, where do we focus?  Jesus Christ is our answer and the Book of Mormon can bring us closer to Him.

The ancient Apostles were bold in their testimonies of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection. Millions believe in Jesus Christ and strive to follow Him because of their words recorded in the Bible. Yet some might wonder, if Jesus Christ is the Savior of the whole world, then why were His eyewitnesses limited to a handful of people concentrated in one small region?

The Book of Mormon stands as an additional, convincing witness that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, “manifesting himself unto all nations” (title page of the Book of Mormon) and offering salvation to all who come unto Him. In addition, this second witness also clarifies what salvation means. This is why Nephi, Jacob, Mormon, and all the prophets labored so “diligently to engraven these words upon plates” to declare to future generations that they too “knew of Christ, and … had a hope of his glory” Jacob 4:3–4 

This Easter season, let us reflect on the testimonies in the Book of Mormon that the power of Christ’s Atonement is both universal and personal; to succor us in all things, be it sickness, death, infirm, abuse, addiction, pandemic.  Jesus Christ is the redeemer of the whole world, of every person who ever lived on both sides of the veil.  He is our redeemmer wherever we live and whom ever we are He redeems YOU. 

History and Background

There are several different views on the origin of the term Easter. In one view, the name Easter has its origin in an Anglo-Saxon tradition of a goddess named Eastre (also spelled Eostre and Ostra). It is said that the hare was sacred to her, but little is known of this goddess or the tradition surrounding her. Some authorities even deny that such a deity was worshipped by the early Germanic tribes.

In another view, the term Easter is related to a goddess of dawn worshipped by peoples in early India and in later Roman times. According to this view, the word east comes from the early tradition in Western civilization of people facing eastward to worship the dawn. The secular festival of Easter was regarded as the beginning of the new year. Remnants of this kind of celebration may still be seen in southern Germany. Spring—the time of sunshine, of flowers, of new growth, of new life—was celebrated as the season giving promise of new life to mankind.

But although the Easter timing is associated with the spring season, the Christian Easter had its origin in other themes. In Asia Minor, it was the Atonement that was first celebrated at this time of year. The day of the Atonement was celebrated on the fourteenth day of the month of Nissan, which was the “day of preparation” before Passover.

In the Hebrew calendar system, a day goes from sunset to sunset, and months are lunar months. This means that, using our calendar as a basis, a month’s duration and the numbering of the days therein shift annually, depending upon the moon’s rotations. Thus, using the Hebrew identification of a day—sunset to sunset—all the events of Gethsemane occurred on the same Hebrew day—Nissan 14.

However, there were those—mostly Jewish Christians—who held that not Nissan 14, but Nissan 15 should be the day for remembering the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The argument for Nissan 15 rested on the fact that Nissan 15 was the first day of unleavened bread of the Passover celebration, commemorating the time in Egypt when the destroying angel passed over the homes of Israel which had the blood of a lamb sprinkled over the door. The very Passover celebration itself was a great prototype of the Savior’s mission to offer his life and blood for all who followed him, thus permitting our sins to be “passed over” on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice and our individual repentance. The argument between these two camps—Nissan 14 vs. Nissan 15—continued for some time, resulting in the observance of Easter at different times by different groups. This confusion continued into the eighth century.

The day we now observe Easter was basically established at the Council of Nicea, A.D. 325, at which time arguments to lessen the Jewish influence on the Easter celebration prevailed. The emphasis of the celebration was therefore moved from the Atonement to the Resurrection.

This decision involved rejecting the Jewish calendar system in favor of the Julian calendar system when identifying the date for Easter. The Resurrection occurred “on the first day of the week” (Luke 24:1), and since Sunday is the first day of the Julian week, Sunday was selected for Easter celebration. The Sunday to be Easter was selected by making solar measurements associated with the new season, a partial return to the spring theme. Thus, the day for Easter observance was set as the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. There are years when this definition of the date for Easter is not precisely true for all the time zones of the world, but generally it is accurate.

A number of Easter traditions have arisen over the centuries which have inspired some and puzzled others. In medieval Europe, a most popular symbol of the Easter season was a lamb, a symbol of Christ. Prayers for the blessing of these animals are dated from the seventh century, and even in modern Europe the meat becomes the main course for an Easter meal.

The most popular Easter tradition today is the egg. The story of the egg dates from ancient times in India and Egypt, where it was regarded as a symbol of cosmic beginnings. Some religions believed the universe was produced from an egg, thinking that an egg, regarded as dead, had the capability of releasing new life after having been shattered. Consequently, the egg early became associated with the theme of resurrection.

The custom of early Christians in Europe and the Near East was to exchange Easter eggs. However, other religions at that same time also may have influenced this Christian practice. In the fourteenth century a European monarch dyed some eggs, covered others with gold leaf, and distributed them to friends and servants. In Europe and the Baltics, colored eggs became very ornate and the paintings on cooked and glass eggs became works of art. Sometimes the egg shell was pierced and the egg blown out; the shell was then plastered and painted. The more ornate the art on an egg, the more highly the recipient was esteemed. In Christian Europe, red eggs became very popular, the color being derived from the blood of the Atonement. Celebrants would carry eggs in their pockets and give them to friends and relatives whom they visited.

Aside from the view tying Easter to the Anglo-Saxon goddess and the hare, the earliest reference to an Easter rabbit seems to date from late sixteenth century. A seventeenth-century German story said the Easter bunny laying eggs was a fable, but credited the Easter rabbit with bringing happiness to children by bringing them eggs, candies, and pastries. Some youngsters prepared small nests, even nests of rocks, to accommodate this Easter visitor.

Many songs and poems have been composed on Easter themes over the centuries; some have become part of the secular celebration while others have become part of our Christian worship. The eighteenth-century Protestant, Charles Wesley, composed an Easter hymn now sung worldwide, “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” which is much loved among Latter-day Saints. In the first stanza he testifies: “Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high; Alleluia! Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth reply, Alleluia!”

It is easy to see how some secular traditions have become general symbols of the Resurrection and thus are part of present-day Easter celebrations. But they succeed as symbols only in a very general sense. While some of these traditions may seem to help some people appreciate the general nature of returning life, they do not by any means adequately represent the profound miracle that took place in our behalf—that Jesus Christ was literally dead in the flesh, but through divine power was raised to life again, assuring immortality for all mankind. In this regard, Elder James E. Talmage has written:

This is indeed a day of days to all Christians. … It is the anniversary of the greatest event in all history, the most effective miracle known to man—a miracle surpassing all that the mind of man could of itself conceive. …

“The Latter-day Saints believe in a literal resurrection of the body. They accept the biblical doctrine in all its beauty and simplicity; and be it remembered, the resurrection of the body is the controlling thought and the central idea of Easter service. …

“It is a fact that we look around in nature vainly for any analogy of the resurrection. … The egg, which is exhibited as the Easter symbol, has been pointed to as an instance of life after death. It has been said that the coming forth of the bird from the tomb-like recess of the egg is an instance of the return of life from death. The analogy is faulty; for … the egg that can hatch or may hatch is not dead; and if it be truly dead, it does not again come to life. The bursting forth of the buds in the spring time, the putting on of their foliage again by the trees, has been strained by some … as another instance of a resurrection from the dead; but I believe that this is equally faulty, for the tree that is dead does not put forth leaves in the spring, and the plant that is dead does not again bear blossoms. The sleep of the insect by which it passes from the crawling larva into the death-like, corpse-like chrysalis, from which, after a time, the winged imago comes forth in all the glory of maturity, has been used by others as an instance of the resurrection. But, again, this is faulty … , for the chrysalis is not dead, and if it were it would not burst forth into the winged beauty that crowns the sequence of insect life. … Jesus died upon the cross. His spirit was literally and actually separated from His body; … and it was only by the power of God that it could be again brought to life. We believe that we shall in very truth die, and that the spirit—that immortal part of man, which existed before the body was framed, and which shall exist and continue to live after that body has gone to decay, that spirit shall take upon itself again this tabernacle of earthly element, immortalized, however, and destined to serve it as a fit garment through all eternity.”  Robert C. Patch, professor of ancient scripture, Brigham Young University.

"I cannot recall a time that I did not believe in Jesus Christ. It seems that the reality of His life, death, and resurrection has always been a part of me. I was reared in a home by faithful parents who earnestly believed in and testified of Christ, for which I am most grateful.

The greatest events of history are those that affect the greatest number of people for the longest periods. By this standard, no event could be more important to individuals or nations than the resurrection of the Master.

The literal resurrection of every soul who has lived and died on earth is a certainty, and surely one should make careful preparation for this event. A glorious resurrection should be the goal of every man and woman, for resurrection will be a reality.

Nothing is more absolutely universal than the resurrection. Every living being will be resurrected. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22.)

The scriptural record tells us that on the third day following Jesus’ crucifixion, there was a great earthquake. The stone was rolled back from the door of the tomb. Some of the women, among the most devoted of His followers, came to the place with spices “and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”

Angels appeared and said simply, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:3–6.) Nothing in history equals that dramatic announcement: “He is not here, but is risen.”

The fact of our Lord’s resurrection is based on the testimonies of many credible witnesses. The risen Lord appeared to several women, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, to Peter, to the Apostles; and “after that,” as Paul reported, “he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once. … And last of all he was seen of [Paul] also.” (1 Cor. 15:6, 8.)

Throughout the forty days subsequent to His resurrection, the Lord manifested Himself at intervals and gave instructions pertaining to the kingdom of God. Much that He said and did is not written, but such things as are of record, John assures us, “are written, that [we] might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing [we] might have life through his name.” (John 20:31; italics added.)

The Savior told His followers that He must soon ascend to His Father in heaven. As the time of His ascension drew near, the Lord, in that last solemn interview, gave His parting instructions to His disciples.

When Christ and the disciples had gone “as far as to Bethany,” where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived, He “lifted up his hands, and blessed them.” (Luke 24:50.) When He had spoken, He was taken up until a cloud received Him out of their sight. As the Apostles stood gazing toward heaven, two personages clothed in white apparel appeared. They spoke to those assembled, saying, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9–11.)

Worshipfully and with great joy, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem. The Lord’s ascension was accomplished. Now the disciples began to comprehend more fully some of His last words: “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.) Because of Christ, the grave had no permanent victory. Death was overcome!

Following His ascension, He appeared to the inhabitants of America as chronicled in the Book of Mormon. Then in modern times the Prophet Joseph Smith testified of the appearance of the Redeemer of the world in these words:

“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him.” (D&C 76:22–23.)

As one of His latter-day witnesses, I testify that He lives today. He is a resurrected Being. He is our Savior, our Lord, the very Son of God. I testify that He will come again as our glorified, resurrected Lord. That day is not far distant. To all who accept Him as Savior and Lord, His literal resurrection means that life does not end at death, for He promised: “Because I live, ye shall live also.” (John 14:19.)  
President Ezra Taft Benson

Part 1: 2 Nephi 9:7–15; Alma 11:41–45; 40:21–23  Resurrection is the permanent reuniting of the body and the spirit.

The Resurrection consists in the uniting of a spirit body with a body of flesh and bones, never again to be divided. The Resurrection shall come to all, because of Christ’s victory over death. Jesus Christ was the first to be resurrected on this earth (Matt. 27:52–54; Acts 26:23; 1 Cor. 15:23; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). Others had been brought back from death but were restored to mortality (Mark 5:22–43; Luke 7:11–17; John 11:1–45), whereas a resurrection means to become immortal, with a body of flesh and bone.  (Bible Dictionary LDS King James) 

What words and phrases in these verses help us better understand the meaning of resurrection?2 Nephi 9:7–15 and Alma 11:41–45

7 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.
10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
11 And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.
12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
13 O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.
14 Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.

15 And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.

41 Therefore the wicked remain as though there had been no redemption made, except it be the loosing of the bands of death; for behold, the day cometh that all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works.
42 Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.
43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt.
44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.
45 Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.

What is death compared to? 

How is resurrection described?  The New Testament gives ample evidence that Jesus rose with His physical body: He ate fish and honey (Luke 24:42–43); He said He had flesh and bones (Luke 24:39); the people touched Him (Luke 24:39–40; John 20:25–29); the tomb was empty (Luke 24:2–3; John 20:1–10); and the angels said He had risen (Mark 16:1–6).  (Bible Dictionary LDS King James) 

Why do we need a resurrected body? Doctrine and Covenants 93:33–34
33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.

How could you use the answers to these questions to teach someone about resurrection?  

Why do you value these truths about the Resurrection?

Think of times when you have felt particularly thankful for their your knowladge about the Resurrection.  Record your impressions in your journal.

Thinking again about those times, how could that knowledge influence your life more regularly? 

What truths do we find in the Book of Mormon to help us answer this question?  2 Nephi 9:7–15; Alma 11:41–45 Alma 40:21–23
21 But whether it be at his resurrection or after, I do not say; but this much I say, that there is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body, and be brought to stand before God, and be judged according to their works.
22 Yea, this bringeth about the restoration of those things of which has been spoken by the mouths of the prophets.
23 The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.

What would your life be like if you did not know these things?

How is your life Because you know these things?

Part 2: Mosiah 3:5–7; 15:5–9; Alma 7:11–13 Jesus Christ took upon Himself our sins, pains, and infirmities

Pondering and discussing the Savior’s suffering on our behalf can invite the Spirit and inspire feelings of love and gratitude toward the Savior.

5 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
6 And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.
7 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.

5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.
6 And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.
7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.
8 And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men—
9 Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice.

12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

According to the accounts in these Book of Mormon passages, what did the Savior suffer?

Why did He suffer?

What does this mean to you?

How do these verses give us better understanding of what the Savior has done for us?

In all of history there has been no majesty like His majesty. He, the mighty Jehovah, condescended to be born to mortal life in a stable of Bethlehem. He grew as a boy in Nazareth and “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

He was baptized by John in the waters of Jordan, “and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:16–17).

During the three years of His earthly ministry, He did what none other had ever done before; He taught as none other had previously taught.

Then came His time to be offered. There was the supper in the Upper Room, His last with the Twelve in mortality. As He washed their feet, He taught a lesson in humility and service they would never forget.
Suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane

There followed the suffering of Gethsemane, “which suffering,” He said, “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” (D&C 19:18).

In the Garden of Gethsemane, He suffered so greatly that He sweat drops of blood as He pleaded with His Father. But this was all a part of His great atoning sacrifice.

[I once sat] in the shadow of an old olive tree [in the Garden of Gethsemane] and read of that terrible wrestling of the Son of God as He faced the certain future, sweating drops of blood and praying to His Father to let the cup pass if it might—but saying, Nevertheless, Thy will be done, not mine. … I had an overwhelming feeling that He wasn’t making His plea, He wasn’t facing that ordeal in terms of the physical pain He was about to face, the terrible, brutal crucifixion on the cross. That was part of it, I am sure. But in large measure it was, I think, a sense on His part of His role in the eternal welfare of all of the sons and daughters of God, of all generations of time.

Everything depended on Him—His atoning sacrifice. That was the key. That was the keystone in the arch of the great plan which the Father had brought forth for the eternal life of His sons and daughters. Terrible as it was to face it, and burdensome as it was to realize it, He faced it, He accomplished it, and it was a marvelous and wonderful thing. It is beyond our comprehension, I believe. Nevertheless, we glimpse it in small part and must learn to appreciate it more and more and more.
Arrest, crucifixion, and death

He was taken by rough and crude hands, and in the night, contrary to the law, was brought before Annas, and then Caiaphas, the wily and evil officer of the Sanhedrin. There followed early the next morning the second appearance before this scheming, vicious man. Then He was taken to Pilate, the Roman governor, to whom his wife said in warning, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man” (Matt. 27:19). The Roman, thinking to evade responsibility, sent Him to Herod, the corrupt, debauched, and evil tetrarch of Galilee. Christ was abused and beaten. His head was crowned with sharp and platted thorns; a mocking robe of purple was thrown upon His bleeding back. Again He was taken before Pilate, to whom the mob cried, “Crucify him, crucify him” (Luke 23:21).

With stumbling steps He walked the way to Golgotha, where His wounded body was nailed to the cross in the most inhumane and pain-ridden method of execution that sadistic minds could conjure.

Yet He cried out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

There is no more poignant picture in all history than that of Jesus in Gethsemane and upon the cross, alone: the Redeemer of mankind, the Savior of the world, bringing to pass the Atonement.

I remember being with President Harold B. Lee … in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. We could sense, if only in a very small degree, the terrible struggle that took place there, a struggle so intense, as Jesus wrestled alone in the spirit, that blood came from every pore (see Luke 22:44; D&C 19:18). We recalled the betrayal by one who had been called to a position of trust. We recalled that evil men laid brutal hands upon the Son of God. We recalled that lonely figure on the cross, crying out in anguish, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). Yet, courageously, the Savior of the world moved forward to bring about the Atonement in our behalf.

The hours passed as His life ebbed in pain. The earth shook; the veil of the temple was rent. From His parched lips came the words, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:46).

It was over. His mortal life was finished. He had offered it as a ransom for all. Gone were the hopes of those who loved Him. Forgotten were the promises He had made. His body was hurriedly but tenderly placed in a borrowed tomb on the eve of the Jewish Sabbath. 
(Teachings of the Presidents of the Chruch Gordon B Hinkley)

Additional scriptures to combine with these help us further understand: Isaiah 53; Hebrews 4:14–16.

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Part 3: Enos 1:1–19; Mosiah 5:1–2; 27:8–28:4; Alma 24:7–19 The Atonement of Jesus Christ cleanses us and helps perfect us

One effective way to learn about the Savior’s power to change our lives is to study examples of how He has changed others’ lives as they repented and came unto Him. The Book of Mormon has many such examples, here are just a few: 

1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—
2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.
3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?
8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.
9 Now, it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren, the Nephites; wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto God for them.
10 And while I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind again, saying: I will visit thy brethren according to their diligence in keeping my commandments. I have given unto them this land, and it is a holy land; and I curse it not save it be for the cause of iniquity; wherefore, I will visit thy brethren according as I have said; and their transgressions will I bring down with sorrow upon their own heads.
11 And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites.
12 And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith.
13 And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him—that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation—
14 For at the present our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith. And they swore in their wrath that, if it were possible, they would destroy our records and us, and also all the traditions of our fathers.
15 Wherefore, I knowing that the Lord God was able to preserve our records, I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.
16 And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that he would preserve the records; and he covenanted with me that he would bring them forth unto the Lamanites in his own due time.
17 And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest.
18 And the Lord said unto me: Thy fathers have also required of me this thing; and it shall be done unto them according to their faith; for their faith was like unto thine.
19 And now it came to pass that I, Enos, went about among the people of Nephi, prophesying of things to come, and testifying of the things which I had heard and seen.

1 And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had thus spoken to his people, he sent among them, desiring to know of his people if they believed the words which he had spoken unto them.
2 And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.
9 And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them.
10 And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God, for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church, and to lead astray the people of the Lord, contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king—
11 And as I said unto you, as they were going about rebelling against God, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood;
12 And so great was their astonishment, that they fell to the earth, and understood not the words which he spake unto them.
13 Nevertheless he cried again, saying: Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people.
14 And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.
15 And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God? For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth? And can ye not also behold me before you? And I am sent from God.
16 Now I say unto thee: Go, and remember the captivity of thy fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi; and remember how great things he has done for them; for they were in bondage, and he has delivered them. And now I say unto thee, Alma, go thy way, and seek to destroy the church no more, that their prayers may be answered, and this even if thou wilt of thyself be cast off.
17 And now it came to pass that these were the last words which the angel spake unto Alma, and he departed.
18 And now Alma and those that were with him fell again to the earth, for great was their astonishment; for with their own eyes they had beheld an angel of the Lord; and his voice was as thunder, which shook the earth; and they knew that there was nothing save the power of God that could shake the earth and cause it to tremble as though it would part asunder.
19 And now the astonishment of Alma was so great that he became dumb, that he could not open his mouth; yea, and he became weak, even that he could not move his hands; therefore he was taken by those that were with him, and carried helpless, even until he was laid before his father.
20 And they rehearsed unto his father all that had happened unto them; and his father rejoiced, for he knew that it was the power of God.
21 And he caused that a multitude should be gathered together that they might witness what the Lord had done for his son, and also for those that were with him.
22 And he caused that the priests should assemble themselves together; and they began to fast, and to pray to the Lord their God that he would open the mouth of Alma, that he might speak, and also that his limbs might receive their strength—that the eyes of the people might be opened to see and know of the goodness and glory of God.
23 And it came to pass after they had fasted and prayed for the space of two days and two nights, the limbs of Alma received their strength, and he stood up and began to speak unto them, bidding them to be of good comfort:
24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.
25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
27 I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off.
28 Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God.
29 My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more.
30 I rejected my Redeemer, and denied that which had been spoken of by our fathers; but now that they may foresee that he will come, and that he remembereth every creature of his creating, he will make himself manifest unto all.
31 Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them; and they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye.

32 And now it came to pass that Alma began from this time forward to teach the people, and those who were with Alma at the time the angel appeared unto them, traveling round about through all the land, publishing to all the people the things which they had heard and seen, and preaching the word of God in much tribulation, being greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, being smitten by many of them.
33 But notwithstanding all this, they did impart much consolation to the church, confirming their faith, and exhorting them with long-suffering and much travail to keep the commandments of God.
34 And four of them were the sons of Mosiah; and their names were Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni; these were the names of the sons of Mosiah.
35 And they traveled throughout all the land of Zarahemla, and among all the people who were under the reign of king Mosiah, zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done to the church, confessing all their sins, and publishing all the things which they had seen, and explaining the prophecies and the scriptures to all who desired to hear them.
36 And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer.
37 And how blessed are they! For they did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth.

7 Now, these are the words which he said unto the people concerning the matter: I thank my God, my beloved people, that our great God has in goodness sent these our brethren, the Nephites, unto us to preach unto us, and to convince us of the traditions of our wicked fathers.
8 And behold, I thank my great God that he has given us a portion of his Spirit to soften our hearts, that we have opened a correspondence with these brethren, the Nephites.
9 And behold, I also thank my God, that by opening this correspondence we have been convinced of our sins, and of the many murders which we have committed.
10 And I also thank my God, yea, my great God, that he hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things, and also that he hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son.
11 And now behold, my brethren, since it has been all that we could do (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain—
12 Now, my best beloved brethren, since God hath taken away our stains, and our swords have become bright, then let us stain our swords no more with the blood of our brethren.
13 Behold, I say unto you, Nay, let us retain our swords that they be not stained with the blood of our brethren; for perhaps, if we should stain our swords again they can no more be washed bright through the blood of the Son of our great God, which shall be shed for the atonement of our sins.
14 And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish; yea, and he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children; therefore, in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as unto future generations.
15 Oh, how merciful is our God! And now behold, since it has been as much as we could do to get our stains taken away from us, and our swords are made bright, let us hide them away that they may be kept bright, as a testimony to our God at the last day, or at the day that we shall be brought to stand before him to be judged, that we have not stained our swords in the blood of our brethren since he imparted his word unto us and has made us clean thereby.
16 And now, my brethren, if our brethren seek to destroy us, behold, we will hide away our swords, yea, even we will bury them deep in the earth, that they may be kept bright, as a testimony that we have never used them, at the last day; and if our brethren destroy us, behold, we shall go to our God and shall be saved.
17 And now it came to pass that when the king had made an end of these sayings, and all the people were assembled together, they took their swords, and all the weapons which were used for the shedding of man’s blood, and they did bury them up deep in the earth.
18 And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.
19 And thus we see that, when these Lamanites were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm, and would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin; and thus we see that they buried their weapons of peace, or they buried the weapons of war, for peace.

It could be said that the Book of Mormon is largely an account of people who changed because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. In fact, some of those people committed grievous sins and were even enemies of God’s people before the Savior’s power worked in them a mighty change according to their faith in Him.

What is the Atonement? Jesus Christ’s triumph over spiritual and physical death by His suffering, death, and Resurrection is called the Atonement.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ included His suffering for the sins of mankind in the Garden of Gethsemane, the shedding of His blood, His suffering and death on the cross, and His literal Resurrection. He was the first to be resurrected. He rose from the tomb with a glorified, immortal body of flesh and bone (see Luke 24:36–39). Because of His Atonement all mankind will be resurrected with perfect, immortal bodies and be brought back into God’s presence to be judged. Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice provided the only way for us to be cleansed and forgiven of our sins so that we can dwell in God’s presence eternally (see Isaiah 1:18; D&C 19:16–19).

As part of His Atonement, Jesus Christ not only suffered for our sins, but He also took upon Himself the pains, temptations, sicknesses, and infirmities of all mankind (see Isaiah 53:3–5; Alma 7:11–13). He understands our suffering because He has experienced it. As we come to Him in faith, the Savior will strengthen us to bear our burdens and accomplish tasks that we could not do on our own (see Matthew 11:28–30; Ether 12:27).

In paying the penalty for our sins, Jesus Christ did not eliminate our personal responsibility. In order to accept His sacrifice, be cleansed from our sins, and inherit eternal life, we must exercise faith in Him
, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure faithfully to the end of our lives.

Related references:
John 3:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20–22; Mosiah 3:19; 3 Nephi 11:10–11; 3 Nephi 27:20; D&C 76:22–24  (Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon) 

How did the people in these examples change? 

What was the Savior’s role in their change?

“Succor. Do you know its meaning? It is used often in the scriptures to describe Christ’s care for and attention to us. It means literally ‘to run to.’ What an absolutely magnificent way to describe the Savior’s urgent effort in our behalf. Even as he calls us to come to him and follow him, he is unfailingly running to help us” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Come unto Me” [Brigham Young University fireside, March 2, 1997)], 9,

To succor means to ‘run to.’ I testify that in my fears and in my infirmities the Savior has surely run to me. I will never be able to thank Him enough for such personal kindness and such loving care” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 66).

How did the Savior work a mighty change in their hearts?  

Why do we need a mighty change?

President Dallin H. Oaks shared an analogy to explain how the Savior prepares us to return to God’s presence:

“We tend to think of the results of repentance as simply cleansing us from sin, but that is an incomplete view. … A person who sins is like a tree that bends easily in the wind. On a windy and rainy day, the tree bends so deeply against the ground that the leaves become soiled with mud, like sin. If we focus only on cleaning the leaves, the weakness in the tree that allowed it to bend and soil its leaves may remain. Similarly, a person who is merely sorry to be soiled by sin will sin again in the next high wind. The susceptibility to repetition continues until the tree has been strengthened.

“When a person has gone through the process that results in what the scriptures call ‘a broken heart and a contrite spirit,’ the Savior does more than cleanse that person from sin. He gives him or her new strength. That strengthening is essential for us to realize the purpose of the cleansing, which is to return to our Heavenly Father. To be admitted to His presence, we must be more than clean. We must also be changed from a morally weak person who has sinned into a strong person with the spiritual stature to dwell in the presence of God”
(“The Atonement and Faith,” Ensign, Apr. 2010, 33–34).

Easter is a Holy day, a remembrance of the greatest gift to the world, that of God giving his only begotten son, to redeem mankind.  Many say they don't believe, many don't have a change of heart, many turn away from what they call, "the foolish traditions of their fathers" But I can give a personal testimony of the truthfulness of the Atonement for I have seen and heard and felt the Savior in my life and have become new, just as the people in the Bible and Book of Mormon.  But that's not all; pain, hardship, infirmities, these too have been lifted from me, and I know it is also through the Atonement that I have peace and healing and that it is a gift given freely to everyone who will believe.

Particularly now, in this time of desperation in the world when we face such as we are facing; relying on the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and developing a personal relationship with Him, can make all the difference.  It truly is my prayer that we all come to, or increase our knowledge of the true meaning of Easter, and devote ourselves to becoming daily disciples.  

Book of Mormon Student Manual
Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church
BYU Speeches
King James Version Holy Bible
Bible Dictionary King James


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