3 Nephi 16: 17-20

“And then the words of the prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled, which say: Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.”
Given the scholarly arguments over the meaning and application of Isaiah, here we encounter a profound insight from Christ.  He attributes this quote from Isaiah to the coming events in the Americas. In this declaration by Christ we learn Isaiah was NOT speaking of the return to the Middle East for these events to unfold. Instead the “waste places of Jerusalem” are nowhere near Jerusalem. It is another place, far away, where the residue of Jerusalem’s scattered people are wasted, then restored again. It is also plural. One is here, in the Americas, on an “isle of the sea.”  (2 Ne. 10: 20.) Now we can know from Christ’s own interpretation that Jerusalem’s “waste places” are scattered throughout the world. This land is one of them.

Then we see something odd. After the removal of the Gentiles, there is joy, rejoicing, singing together, seeing eye to eye and a return to Zion. The emotional setting seems at odds with what we anticipate.  Destroying Gentiles and having the trauma of those days would seem to produce mourning and lamentation. It does not. Instead it produces singing in joy.

To redeem Jerusalem is to re-establish the promised heirs upon their own land, and bring again Zion. Whatever bottle-neck of destruction needed to bring that triumph to pass will be worth it. So great will be the peace that follows that it will wipe away all tears. Truth, saving doctrine and being fed by Christ’s own message will end all laments.  (Rev. 7: 17.)
How is the Lord’s “holy arm” made bare? How will “the eyes of all nations” see it? What will the ends of the earth behold, as the salvation of God takes place? Why is it “all the ends of the earth” which will behold it?

What does it mean to “see eye to eye” when Zion is brought again?

Why is Zion to be “brought again” rather than re-built?

If the Lord is to comfort His people, what will that “comfort” include? Why has He consistently used the word “comfort” to describe His visit with people?

Why, when the waste places are redeemed, does it say “Jerusalem” will be redeemed? Is redeeming the “waste places” the same as redeeming “Jerusalem” itself? How does that affect the meaning of other scriptures?

Why are “singing together” and “seeing eye to eye” connected in the same thought?

What does it mean to “become one” as a people? Can we ever accomplish that by acquiring enough “sameness” or “uniformity” in conduct, thought and speech? Is it worth any effort at all to mimic one another? If we are to “become one” how should each of us proceed to accomplish that? How does Christ expect us to become “one?”  (1 John 3: 2.)

12 thoughts on “3 Nephi 16: 17-20

  1. becoming and being one?

    I was studying Zechariah 3 this morning (see verse 10). It felt like I should be as concerned with my neighbors well being as my own well being and comfort….likewise, they would watch over and help me in our little neighborhood. Looks to me like verse 9 gives us more reason to rejoice and sing…in that day. :-)



    Zechariah speaks Messianically: The Branch shall come—At the Second Coming, iniquity shall be removed in one day.

    1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

    2 And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

    3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.

    4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.

    5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.

    6 And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying,

    7 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.

    8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.

    9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

    10 In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.


    some mighty interesting things going on in this chapter. I’m grateful for the spirit prompting me to read this chapter after reading this blog.

  2. It’s interesting how D&C 101 ties in with these last few verses of 3 Ne 16. Of particular note:

    10 I have sworn, and the decree hath gone forth by a former commandment which I have given unto you, that I would let fall the sword of mine indignation in behalf of my people; and even as I have said, it shall come to pass.
    11 Mine indignation is soon to be poured out without measure upon all nations; and this will I do when the cup of their iniquity is full.
    12 And in that day all who are found upon the watch-tower, or in other words, all mine Israel, shall be saved.
    13 And they that have been scattered shall be gathered.
    14 And all they who have mourned shall be comforted.
    15 And all they who have given their lives for my name shall be crowned.
    16 Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.
    17 Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.
    18 They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion—
    19 And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled.

    And prepare for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together.

    Parable of the watchmen in the vineyard.


  3. The question I would ask is, “Which words of Isaiah”? Which words relate to “when the Lord shall bring again Zion”? Exactly when is the “when”? After 13:13, when “the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger”? Or some other time?

    This “when the Lord shall bring again Zion” does it refer to himself, or by people by his command?

    How many prophecies, and what are the interdependencies, of the minor prophets that have to be fulfilled before whichever “words of the prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled”?

    This is no simple matter, but presents a complex relationship with other prophets at, or near, his time.

  4. Only the Lord can “bring it again.” That is why He is said to “bring” it rather than for others to build it. All the labor may come from men, but it will the the Lord’s command, Lord’s direction, Lord’s word which will cause it. Until He speaks it, it simply cannot come again. Hence the need for us to be able to speak with Him. He cannot bring it until a people exist who will listen to Him (or those who speak His words, no matter how unlikely the source they may seem to be). Oddly, until such spokesmen or spokeswomen should be listening to Him, and then He tells them to begin, and in turn a group should be here who would listen and hear Him in that call, there is simply no need to worry about Zion.

  5. Part – 2 (Continued)

    How are the words, for whichever words are chosen “of the prophet Isaiah [740-700 BC] shall be fulfilled” reconciled with Zephaniah [695-642 BC]

    Chapter 1, New Jerusalem Bible:

    1 The word of Yahweh which was addressed to Zephaniah …
    2 I shall sweep away everything off the face of the earth, declares Yahweh.
    3 I shall sweep away humans and animals, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, I shall topple the wicked and wipe all people off the face of the earth -declares Yahweh.
    4 I shall raise my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem, and from this place I will wipe out Baal’s remnant, the very name of his priests,
    5 and those who prostrate themselves on the roofs before the array of heaven, and those who prostrate themselves before Yahweh but swear by Milcom,
    6 and those who have turned their back on Yahweh, who do not seek Yahweh and do not consult him.
    7 Silence before Lord Yahweh, for the Day of Yahweh is near! Yahweh has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests.
    8 On the Day of Yahweh’s sacrifice, I shall punish the courtiers, the royal princes and all who dress in outlandish clothes.
    9 On that day I shall punish all who go up the Step and fill the Temple of their lords, with violence and deceit.
    10 On that Day — declares Yahweh — uproar will be heard from the Fish Gate, wailing from the New Quarter and a great crash from the hills.
    11 Wail, you who live in the Hollow, for it is all over with the merchants, all the money-bags have been wiped out!
    12 When that time comes I shall search Jerusalem by lamplight and punish the men stagnating over the remains of their wine, who say in their hearts, ‘Yahweh can do nothing, either good or bad.’
    13 For this, their wealth will be looted and their houses laid in ruins; they will build houses but not live in them, they will plant vineyards but not drink their wine.
    14 The great Day of Yahweh is near, near, and coming with great speed. How bitter the sound of the Day of Yahweh, the Day when the warrior shouts his cry of war.
    15 That Day is a day of retribution, a day of distress and tribulation, a day of ruin and of devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of cloud and thick fog,
    16 a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against fortified town and high corner-tower.
    17 I shall bring such distress on humanity that they will grope their way like the blind for having sinned against Yahweh. Their blood will be poured out like mud, yes, their corpses like dung;
    18 nor will their silver or gold be able to save them. On the Day of Yahweh’s anger, by the fire of his jealousy, the whole earth will be consumed. For he will destroy, yes, annihilate everyone living on earth.

    Just when, or how does this mitigate the words of Isaiah?

    If one holds to Snuffer’s suggestion, this must apply to the “heavenly Zion” being brought down. No?

    And this begs the question about the Zion, below, being lifted up … when does that happen?

    I suggest there are people, hidden away from the “world”, who do hear, who do listen, who act in quiet ways to bring about Zion.

    The best evidence that God has done His job is there is no evidence; likewise with those servants—whether it is by my voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same.

    So we circle around, to my question, which words, and when?

    Obviously the earthly Zion must be built before this great and dreadful day of the Lord, else the earth will have been an utter waste and the scriptures laid unfulfilled.

  6. Part – 3

    In Zephaniah, Chapter 2 we are told”

    1 Gather together, gather together, nations without shame,
    2 before you are dispersed like chaff which disappears in a day; before Yahweh’s burning anger overtakes you (before the Day of Yahweh’s anger overtakes you).
    3 Seek Yahweh, all you humble of the earth, who obey his commands. Seek uprightness, seek humility: you may perhaps find shelter on the Day of Yahweh’s anger.

    And where is that protection? And who declares it? Jeremiah 50:28 says, “The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God …” [also see D&C 45:68; 133:12].

    Otherwise they will suffer the fate of the peoples of the nations, as will be declared, “I have exterminated the nations, their corner-towers lie in ruins; I have emptied their streets, no one walks through them; their cities have been destroyed and are now deserted and unpeopled.”

    So during this time Zion, of necessity, must already have been established.

    In deed, D&C 14:5-6 suggests we are commanded to establish Zion “Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you. Seek to bring forth and establish my Zion. Keep my commandments in all things.”

    This is direction by the scriptures.

  7. D&C 49: 8

    8 Wherefore, I will that all men shall repent, for all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of.

    D&C 86: 8-11

    8 Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers—
    9 For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—
    10 Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.
    11 Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it. Amen.

  8. Hey Mr. Snuffer,

    I know this is off point, but I just re-read some of what I copied above and found an interesting version comparison:

    Zephaniah 1:7

    [NJB] Silence before Lord Yahweh, for the Day of Yahweh is near! Yahweh has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests.

    [YLT] Hush! because of the Lord Jehovah, For near [is] a day of Jehovah, For prepared hath Jehovah a sacrifice, He hath sanctified His invited ones.

    Young’s Literal also has an interesting Genesis 1:2 “the earth hath existed waste and void, and darkness [is] on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttering on the face of the waters”

    Young’s is acclaimed to be one of the most accurate literal translations and certainly puts a dagger in the heart of “ex nihilo” and certain other dramas of creation.

  9. Today a friend and I discussed a part of today’s scripture, “Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem;” in this entire verse it seemed to us initially as if Israel is celebrating both the demise of the Gentiles as well as the baring of the Lord’s arm to establish Zion.

    The question was discussed, “but wouldn’t we be celebrating the demise of the LDS church if we were a part of those who were singing for joy?”

    Although an elementary metaphor, we talked about the happiness and sadness associated with graduating from High School. We had great times, but after four years, it was time to move on.

    Similarly, while the church has done much good, and continues to do much good, it appears this verse suggests a graduation day is eminent. We must make the choice to accept higher learning by receiving the fullness of the gospel and becoming a member of the Church of the Firstborn, or we will be among the scattered, smitten, and trodden under that is the salt which has lost its savor.

    Is this an accurate portrayal?

    I think I understand you in a new light including your sometimes uncharismatic directness, which is awfully unsettling to the uninitiated.

    God Bless and Thank You

  10. JDS … me ? My view of the ‘end of days’ (not the same as the ‘end of times’), undoubtedly is different than most here, but based on Isaiah as modified by the minor prophets, notably Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Zechariah, I’d say the end of days scene will be so horrific, those that remain after all the destructions etc are done will “Break forth into joy, sing together”.

    PS: Zion and Mount Zion are quite different.

  11. My most recent reading of 3 Nephi 16 showed me something I had not seen before: A chiasm. I think the structure of it goes to show the Lord’s mercy and justice to Israel and us Gentiles.

    A1 – Israel scattered for unbelief (verse 4)
    A1 – Gentiles blessed for belief (verse 6)

    Because of Gentile’s belief and Israel’s unbelief (verse 7)
    A2 – Truth shall come to gentiles (verse 7)
    B – Israel trodden under feet of Gentiles (verse 8)
    C – (Unbelieving) Gentiles shall sin against Gospel and reject fulness of Gospel (verse 10) and Fulness of gospel brought from among Gentiles (verse 10)
    C – Gospel to be brought to Israel. Israel to come to knowledge of fulness of gospel (verses 11 and 12) and (Believing) Gentiles to be numbered among Israel (verse 13)
    B – (Unbelieving) Gentiles to be trodden under feet of Israel (verse 15)
    A2 – Lord will bring again Zion (to Israel) (verse 18)

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