Tuesday, November 11, 2014

3 Nephi 19 - The Three Prayers of Christ

A week or two God revealed the most beautiful things to me, hidden in chapters 19 and 20 of 3 Nephi.  So beautiful they are!  A quick synopsis of background before I get into it.

These events are post Resurrection.  It is after the earthquakes, storms, and insane mists of darkness that happened months before and covered the earth, when the world went crazy and people were crying, mourning, and moaning for days on end because of all the destruction.  This was global destruction, and we are now witnessing it from the view of the Nephite civilization.  

At the start of 3 Nephi 19, people are gathering.  (For a little precursor to this, see here for some thoughts on what happens just before the events of chapter 19.)  They had heard noise about what had happened earlier that day, how Jesus came and discussed the essentials of bread and wine representing him.  He discussed how to pray, what it meant, and the beauties of the ordinance.  He taught who can partake of it, and that none should be refused from worshiping together, however those unworthy – meaning those unbaptized –should not partake of it, yet.  They need to follow this essential doctrine before stepping further on the path.  So many other gems in this chapter.  

Heading into chapter 19, people are allll hopped up.  What an incredible awesome, miraculous day they had just seen.  When was the last time you experienced such things?  I haven't read it all just now, but in skimming things, it appears that everything that happened between 3 Nephi 11 and 3 Nephi 18 happens in one day.  (Not necessarily the destruction.  I think that happened months before Christ actually came to descend among the Nephites.  I'm just saying the messages between 11-18 are one day.)  These chapters are LOADED and if I'm reading things right, I'm pretty sure they are all being downloaded in aprox. 1 day.  

But to just highlight one event, when was the last time you had anyone leave your presence by having a cloud overshadow you, and then they ascended into heaven?  I have yet to see such.  

So the people are gathering, some of them hustling it up ALL night to get to where they anticipate he will come the next day.  I mean it is noised ALL about.  I imagine I couldn't sleep either, and would be waking up the neighbors saying, "Get the heck over here and SEE THIS!!!"  

When everyone arrives, they meet the 12 disciples Jesus had called out and "touched" (18:36) the day before.  These twelve start separating the gathering crowd into 12 different bodies, because it is just so big!  Verse 6 says they (the disciples) taught them (the multitude, in groups), and then instructed them to kneel on the earth and pray to the Father in the name of Jesus.  Then the disciples joined suit.  What are they doing?  

Well Jesus had not yet arrived.  They are beckoning him in prayer!  

Verse 7-8 describes how the disciples then "minister" to them, using the exact same words Jesus had used, and then knelt again.  Did they issue the bread and wine here?  I am not entirely sure.  It is not clear, although surely God could tell you if you asked.  One of the almost last things he went over the night before was the importance of remembering him through the bread and wine.  I believe this was probably what they were doing, but I could be wrong.   

What happened next though is eye opening.  They begin praying for the Holy Ghost to be given to them.  Really???  They had not yet received the Holy Ghost?  These were people that survived the destructions of the Nephite civilization.  Had they not yet obviously had the gospel and baptism and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints as we now assume they had? ;) You know, exactly like we have it now???  No.  

They sought the Holy Ghost.  The real, first Comforter.  So they prayed fervently, and went to the water's edge, where they met Nephi.  Nephi received baptism first.  (Still no Christ present in the flesh.)  Who baptized Nephi?  And as soon as Nephi came out of the water, he began baptizing the others Jesus had chosen.  

Was this something Jesus instructed the night before?  So Nephi is just now baptized!  And he baptizes the other eleven.  And they rise out of the water, and their WISH is GRANTED!  No waiting, just boom!  There!  Holy Ghost DID. FALL. UPON. THEM.  and they were FILLED with the Holy Ghost and with FIRE!!!  And they were circled – surrounded – with something so much like fire, from heaven.  And the multitude saw it, and knew it was true.  Then come the angels.  

And the angels minister to them.  Can you imagine?  But it gets better.  

Then comes Jesus!  Again!  To ALL of them!!!  Party on!!!  Can you imagine this???  Were they cheering?  Were they falling to the earth?  This is the very first experience for the bulk of them, right, meeting their God?  Remarkable.  Think about that for a moment.  Can you really imagine this?  I get all weepy when hearing that song, "I Can Only Imagine".  I really have no idea how I'd react, but pretty much all of those emotions wrapped into one is how I imagine it.  

(Feel free to just listen.  Or just hit play and read the rest because listening to this song while you read changes the whole tone of the rest.  Wow.)

So the instruction begins... now.  Get ready to rumble, because this. is. pure. awesomeness.   

Jesus instructs the multitude to kneel.  They listen and obey.  And then the disciples.  Check.  And when they're alllll kneeling, he instructs the disciples to pray.  All 12.  They are praying –to–Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God.  

Jesus steps a little bit away.  He prays to the Father.  

"Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world.  
Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words.  {Could he also be talking about us here???}
Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me;  {prayer answered immediately, by the way} and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them.  {Noted.}
And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one."  {Jesus prays for those present and NOT present, who believe on the words of those present.  Present and future.  Why?  He wants us to be one.}

Jesus ends his prayer for a moment, stands up, looks at his disciples, who are praying with words given to them, and they were filled with desire.  Desire for what?

So as they're praying – they, meaning the disciples – Jesus blesses them.  I don't know how they can remain focused, because quite frankly, if Jesus were to utter direct words of blessing on my ears to hear, I think I would instantly be a puddle of tears and awe.  But they manage to continue, and he blesses them, and his countenance smiles upon them.  The light of it shines on them, and they turn literally white.  Whiter than anything on the planet, it says.  They were as white as the garments and countenance of Christ.  And he tells them to pray on.

And again, Jesus turns from them again, and steps a little ways away and begins to pray again!  Now he asks,

"Father, I thank thee that thou hast purified those whom I have chosen, because of their faith, and I pray for them, and also for them who shall believe on their words {here again!}, that they may be purified in me, through faith on their words, even as they are purified in me.  
Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them." 

He pauses, checks on the disciples again, and smiles upon them.  They were white, even as white as Jesus now.  Is this different now, than the previous whiteness?  Was the previous whiteness white in countenance and garments?  And now their physical being is white?  Have they received the purification, literally, soul –body and spirit– that he just supplicated the Father for?

So he steps off again.  Prayer number three.

"And tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed.  
And the multitude did hear and do bear record; and their hearts were open that they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed.  
Nevertheless, so great and marvelous were the words which he prayed that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man." 

What was said here?  Prayer #1 involves Christ asking for those who believe in these words to receive the Holy Ghost.  And it happens.  Prayer #2 he asks for them (and us) and all who believe to be purified.  And they are.  Prayer #3 happens and their hearts – their heart layers – I believe these are veils of forgetfulness, or of knowingness – of being able to speak heavenly tongues – the language of Jesus – the language of the Father(s) – is spoken, and NO MAN CAN REPEAT IT.  I can't even analyze it to put words to it.  It is marvelous.

This is not some lame secret.  This is nothing that man is capable of uttering, because we have heart walls, shields, veils, that prohibit us from literally speaking it.  This is no secret combination, where someone swears you to secrecy, and if you share or break confidence then you incur the wrath of their pseudo-god, ending a friendship or relationship.  No.  This is pure, undefiled, Godliness.  This is the language of Christ, the PURE LANGUAGE OF CHRIST.

When he is done praying these beautiful, gorgeous, heavenly blessed words, he goes back to the disciples, and says,

"So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief.  
Verily I say unto you, there are none of them that have seen so great things as ye have seen; neither have they heard so great things as ye have heard."  

Lucky ducks, right?  Jesus pretty much tells them how awesome it is for him too, to be finally sharing some of these awesome things that the Jews just couldn't get open enough to receive.  Seriously.  How flipping cool would that be to have participated in such beautiful, truly glorious things?

Chapter 20 is next.   

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