3 Nephi 16: 16

3 Nephi 16: 16:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, thus hath the Father commanded me—that I should give unto this people this land for their inheritance.”

As a result of the their behavior, the Gentiles forfeit the land. The ones who inherit the land will be “this people” or the ones to whom Christ was speaking. The land will belong to the remnant – those who were standing before Christ at the time of this address.
Now, the actual inheritors will not be those people, but those who claim the right as descendants through their fathers. It will not, and cannot be the Gentiles. There were no European migrants in the audience when Christ spoke on this occasion.

We need to know who “this people” is to know who will inherit the land.
We also need to know what “this land” was to be able to know if the Gentiles who inherited the “land of liberty” (2 Nephi 10: 11) which would “never fall into captivity except for wickedness” was North America (2 Nephi 1: 6-11).  Hence the relevance of knowing the location of the Book of Mormon lands.

That is such a side-track that I hesitate to even revisit the subject.  I will only add that there are arguments for both North American and Central America.  I think the better argument is for North America. 

The various possessors of the land all have the same condition:  They either follow Christ as they occupy the ground or they are swept away and others who will follow Christ will supplant them.
This was established by covenant with Lehi generations before Christ visited with and taught Lehi’s descendants. Lehi recorded the covenant:
“Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever. But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them. Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.”  (2 Nephi 1: 9-11.)
Christ’s words dovetail with the covenant made with Lehi. The same Lord announcing them both. That condition and lease of this land remains conditional. Keep the conditions and you may be preserved to inherit the land and be numbered with the house of Israel.  Violate them and be swept away.
So we see that the times of the Gentiles, as they end, become quite perilous for the Gentiles upon the land. They will forfeit their hold, however improbable it may seem to them at the present. Christ’s Father has declared it so. Who, then, can disannul?
The many confident assurances of God’s favor we have do give us comfort, don’t they? They are either true and right, and we have little to fear. Or they are among the abominations that allow foolish, vain and false notions lull us to sleep. The difference between those two propositions is quite alarming. I hate it when we have to make hard choices.

18 thoughts on “3 Nephi 16: 16

  1. Denver,

    I have spent several hours in the scriptures yesterday and today refreshing my understanding of all the references to the “remnant”, etc. I am on board 100% as to what you are helping to open our eyes to greater understanding, but I must say I am still full of questions…and I have been for several years. Every time I address this subject with my husband we have more unanswered questions than answers.

    I lean toward the “North America” Book of Mormon lands concept, also, but I am wondering if that means the remnant would be exclusively referring to the Native American Indians…or are all the people in Central and South America also part of this remnant. That is definitely what most of the church believes and all my friends from such regions are from the tribe of Manasseh. Do you have thoughts on this? Does it matter? Is it one or the other or all the native peoples of both continents?

    Also, you said, “So we see that the times of the Gentiles, as they end, become quite perilous for the Gentiles upon the land…”

    I was reminded that a good teacher once taught me that President Benson (the chamion of the Book of Mormon in my opinion) taught in a General Conference that the times directly preceding the coming of Christ in Third Nephi…parallel our day prior to His second coming. 3 Ne 6:12 talks of the beginning of the break-up of the CHURCH. 3 Ne 7:2 talks of the break up of the GOVERNMENT and consequent division into tribes. And Chapter 8 discusses the break-up of the LAND.
    Three break-ups…church, government, land. Is this a type and shadow of perhaps the unfolding events that await us in order that the remnant return and the Gentiles are cleansed and given an opportunity for the few who will to truly repent? Any thoughts?


  2. I considered this subject as potentially inappropriate for a blog; because it will take a long time to lay it all out. I decided to take the task on. But it will require a lot of material to be covered. Therefore you need to be patient. We’re going to cover it all in increments. It will take a while.

    I think it is North America. That will become apparent as the Book of Mormon text is reviewed.

    I think the remnant involved are primarily found in North and Central America, but bloodlines get disbursed.

    Remember that the people who were here were destroyed in staggering numbers. 25 million Aztec (more properly Mexica) reduced to 2 million in about 5 years from disease. 20 million Plains Indians so completely killed that when the push west was made the American Colonialists thought the Plains had never been inhabited. 98% of the Mayan Empire died of disease. Who remains? What scattered blood, including Lehi’s, are among the tiny fraction of the native bloodlines who were here at the time of Columbus? What mixtures exist now?

    It is unlikely the Aztec/Mexica did not have some blood from Lehi’s people among them. It may be that those who survived the die-off are now predominately of Lehi’s mixture.

    I do think the Book of Mormon will parallel our unfolding history, and that was one of its intended purposes. Their history was abridged, and sections selected because of their relevance to us. Therefore their remaining, highly selected, abridged account is not as much historic as it is prophetic.

  3. It will be really interesting as you lay out your thinking as to why the Book of Mormon took place in North America. I’ve studied this topic out of pure interest for a long time, and some of the things I hope you address will be:

    1) Nobody has ever come up with a reasonable theory as to where the “narrow neck of land” is — that is supposed to run from east to west, and only be a day and a half’s journey (for a Nephite) to travel across. I’ve seen the theories for both Central America and for North America, and none of them cut it even close. The theororists are having to fudge like crazy to come up with a theory for the narrow neck of land, and the fudges don’t fit the scriptures.

    2) Christ was standing in person with the Book of Mormon people in 3 Nephi when He told them that a great nation of Gentiles would be raised up “upon this land”. The great nation is obviously the United States, and the North American theororists claim that things had to have taken place in North America since Christ said “this land”. That isn’t cutting it either. There were no boundaries in 34 A.D. between Mexico and the U.S. in 34 A.D. So “this land” could be anywhere on this continent.

    3) The Book of Mormon geography was quite small, except for when the people migrated north and never had a further role in the story. It was only a 3 week trip from the Land of Nephi to Zarahemla, and we have a place with the Sea East and the Sea West and the Sea North and the Sea South.

    I personally don’t have an opinion as to where things took place, having looked at lots of evidence. We do know for a fact that someone was in North America who spoke Hebrew and built cities fitting the cities defended by Capt. Moroni’s method, but there were over 500 separate cultures in the Americas anciently, and the Lehites were only one of them.

    I can’t wait. (I know the true topic is deeper than just where things took place, but I can’t help being interested in the geography anyway.) I will, however, also pay close attention to the deeper topic you’re getting at. :)

  4. 3 Nephi 6:20 “And there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them concerning the redemption which the Lord would make for his people…”

  5. Kisi,

    I would highly recommend reading the book “Prophecies & Promises — The Book of Mormon & the United States of America” by Porter and Meldrum.

    In my opinion, it lays out a clear case, using mostly the Book of Mormon, D&C and the words of Joseph Smith. It tackles the logic much the same way Denver does with his approach to the Book of Mormon. Small words or phrases in the scriptures that we might commonly overlook are used to support the theory, when tied in to other scriptures or the context.

    FARMS gave it a thumbs down, but I have to say, after reading it, I was satisfied to go by faith as to where the narrow neck of land was or distances to cities, or all the other physical “evidence.”

    I think the paradigm shift came when I realized that all the physical evidence in the world is useless if I’m out to just “prove” it’s true. To me, it would be like getting instructions for the purpose of building a bike, then going around telling everyone that the instructions are true because there is evidence that the author really built bikes. So what? BUILD THE BIKE! That’s why they are called “instructions.” (Okay, lame analogy, but hopefully you get the idea).

    I’d be happy to summarize the points if you don’t want to read the book, but I’m afraid I might not be able to do it justice.


  6. If the events leading up to Christs visit in 3rd Nephi are going to parallel our own day, things like the earth quakes, shifting of the land, cities falling into the sea… such things may create “new” or “different” looking continents than how we now think of them. That definitely could change a lot of things.

    Inheriting “this land” could have interesting additional meanings depending on geographic change. Hum…. I’ll need to think more about that one. I look forward to Denver’s discussion continuing.

    Somewhere in the distant past I remember hearing something about the continents returning to their original Pangaea type arrangement. Anyone know about the truthfulness of that?? It may have been me and a mission companion speculating one night, but I vaguely remember hearing about such a prophecy.

    This discussion in 3rd Nephi has been a very enjoyable topic. I don’t know near enough about this topic of land inheritance, I’m enjoying learning.

  7. Good comment, Taylor.
    Doug – I’ve attended seminars and presentations by these guys, and have their material, and their info and insights are very good. We do know, as I said above, that someone like the Nephites was here in North America. It just doesn’t fit the scriptural geography. I believe that Mormon put in as many geographical descriptions for a reason. Engraving on plates was hard work, and some of his descriptions are very long. There’s a reason for it. Neither Central America nor the U.S. near and below the Great Lakes is fitting it. The Nephites were surrounded by seas on all 4 sides and were in a fairly small geographical area. Everyone always went “down to Zarahemla”. The narrow neck of land in the Great Lakes just isn’t fitting AT ALL.

    I’d love to know where this took place. My mission was the Cumorah Mission (which became the NY Rochester Mission), and Palmyra and all of Wayne County was my area for 5 months. I love this area. I’d love for Meldrum to be right. Someone was where he’s saying. It just doesn’t fit the B of M descriptions. And the fact that some things fit, doesn’t fix it for all that doesn’t fit. Central America is doing no better. I don’t have a pet place. I just want things to fit.

    If it’s true that Joseph Smith said it was in North America, that’s more compelling than anything. But that doesn’t seem sure either – I mean that he even said it. We’ll see what Denver has to point out. This will be really interesting.

  8. Taylor your question about the continents coming back together is scripturially based and is found in D&C 133:23-24. Originally the earth was divided in the days on Shem’s great- grandson Peleg as noted in 1st Chronicles 1:19. Jim Boud

  9. “…there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed…”

    Was it really THAT changed? Or just, you know, mixed up a little bit… so you still knew where you were – you could still recognize landmarks and where you were going, etc.? Or was it like, Where did that Grand Canyon come from? Where are we? I wonder if “the whole face of the land was changed” was more of an exaggeration… for dramatic effect. No, that doesn’t seem right, because hardly anything seems to be ‘overstated’ in the BOM.

    Kisi states emphatically that the N.Am. model does not fit. I couldn’t disagree more. I also disagree that the BOM took place in a small geographic area. I believe there were few places where ancient peoples did NOT inhabit.

    Maybe the “day and a half” it took them to travel is not something we should be comparing to say, pioneer wagontrain travel. Just sayin’.

    Isn’t there some Isthmus of Darien (?) in there somewhere?

    Whether it’s Panama or Manhattan, I’ll enjoy this discussion tremendously. :)

  10. Jim:

    Ah yes, that’s the one. Thanks.

    How will that play into Christs words about people possessing “This land” I wonder?

    Hum…. The scriptures are fun and interesting.

  11. “This land” will always be “this land”. The inheritances granted were not temporary but were “for an everlasting possession” and “forever” meaning for time and eternity. See Genesis 17:8 with respect to Abraham and his posterity. See 2 Nephi 1:5 as to Lehi’s posterity. When the continents come back together that should not change an eternal decree of God. When the earth someday becomes the celestial kingdom, I would assume the scriptures mean that if you are part of Lehi’s posterity, for example, your “mansion” will be on “this land”. How else will a promised inheritance of physical land take place? Truely the “meek” will inherit the earth!

  12. Taylor “this land” will always be ” this land” regardless of when the continents come back together. This is because when God gives an inheritance of real estate by covenant it is for time and eternity. See Genesis 17:8 as to Abraham, and 2 Nephi 1:5 with respect to Lehi and his posterity. I read these verses as saying that when the earth becomes the celestial kingdom and, for example, a decendant of Lehi inherits his mansion in that kingdom, that particular mansion will be located on “this land”. Surely the “meek” shall inherit the earth! Jim Boud

  13. The “dividing” at the time of Peleg was not of the “earth” but of the “world”.

    Deu 32:8 When the Most High gave the nations each their heritage, when he partitioned out the human race, he assigned the boundaries of nations according to the number of the children of God, 9 but Yahweh’s portion was his people, Jacob was to be the measure of his inheritance.

    I see no shifting of the tectonic plates in the above scripture.

    I also see in the scripture below, support for the scripture above.

    1 Chr. 1:19 To Eber were born two sons; the first was called Peleg, because it was in his time that the earth was divided into districts, and his brother was called Joktan.

    Clearly the dividing was mankind, not the physical earth.

    PS: This is why I prefer the NJB over the KJV

  14. Stone, how does your explanation fit with the DC 133: 23-24 reference that specifically mentions the “earth?”

  15. The earth split from the flood. From the timeline in the Bible, the year of the flood would’ve seen the polar ice caps grown to enough mass to push down and crack, pangea, bursting forth the waters from the deep and causing a tsunami that would’ve covered all land along with the rain that contributed. You can see the crack on a good earth map right down the middle of the Atlantic, and see how the plates moved out from that center point, with resistance that slowed the plates down and created mountains on the opposite ends. That’s from one of the worlds renown geologists. The event wiped out the dinosaurs, except a few still living today that scientists already know about.

  16. Stone: I have a problem with the interpretation in the NJB version of the bible with respect to the dividing of nations or peoples rather than land masses. In Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. II, pp. 84-85, President Joseph Fielding Smith quotes Joseph Smiths summary of latter-day events as published in the Evening and Morning Star, Feb. 1835 as follows: “There shall be famine, and pestilence, … yea, the Eternal God hath declared that the great deep shall roll back into the north countries and that he land of Zion and the land of Jerusalem shall be joined together, as they were before they were divided in the days of Peleg.” I believe Joseph have visions from the beginning to the end of the earth’s history and would have seen this event take place. I, therefore, believe his interpretation is correct. Jim Boud

  17. Anony of June 28, 2010 1:30 PM, concerning you question of D&C 133:23-24.

    Sorry for the delay … missed your post.

    Simple: two different “dividings”.

    The dividing of the people at the time of Peleg (which was what was being referenced in the post to which I responded) was long after the fall (the cause of the first dividing–which was the dividing of the land)to which 133:23-24 refer.

    Zion and Jerusalem are used as reference points for the changes at the time of the restoration of the earth’s position relative to prior to the “fall”.

    Orson Pratt talks about the earth falling through space. Torsion physics, momentum, and velocity played a major role in the shaping of the earth, and will again at the time of the reshaping when the earth leavings it’s orbit (see Isa 13:13).

    You know, it’s related to all that talk about a “new heaven and a new earth.”

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