3 Nephi 20: 14-15

3 Nephi 20: 14-15: 
 “And the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you this land, for your inheritance. And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people—” 

Christ is speaking to a group of people and their descendants when making these remarks. The Father has commanded Christ to confirm to the Nephites they are given this land. “This land.” So now the question of where Christ was while making these comments becomes important.

Where were they at the moment Christ spoke to them? That affects things, doesn’t it? Was it Guatamala? Or the United States?

There are two ways of trying to determine the answer to this question.  One would be to study the internal content of the Book of Mormon and try to reconstruct a location based on the clues there. This has been done with varying results. The two leading works on the two leading theories have been referred to in this post. There is another theory that the area was in the Gulf of Mexico. The land was completely reformed, broken up, and altered as a result of the upheavals of the 3 Nephi destruction, and the land no longer appears as it did once. It is now underwater. You can work and justify a number of locations based on the content of the Book of Mormon.

The other way is to take other sources that presumably knew, and accept what they said about the location. I’ve already quoted from both Moroni and Joseph Smith about the location. Both have placed the events in the area now known as the United States. Moroni’s description of the Book of Mormon, and its people, was as follows: “He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang.”  (JS-H 1: 34.) I presume Moroni knew, and that Joseph had no reason to misstate what he said. It would appear that the continent referred to by Christ using the words, “this land” was North America. And the promise from the Father, made by covenant, was with “the former inhabitants of this continent.”

So the remnant was (at the moment Christ was speaking to this audience, and confirmed this covenant of the Father) located in North America. This does not mean they weren’t mobile and subsequently moved about. This does not mean they did not disburse and occupy other portions of the North and South American landmasses. This does not mean that other migrations of these people which scattered them elsewhere into the world have not occurred. Even if you confine everything to a North American venue for the entirety of the Book of Mormon account, there is still a gap between 400 a.d. when the narrative draws to a conclusion and the 1820’s when the record comes to light again. Nothing closes that gap.
So if Moroni’s comments to Joseph Smith can be trusted, then originally the people from whom the remnant came were people who lived on “this continent” at some time in history. 
The gentiles are mentioned again here. They are reminded of the blessings they have received. They are reminded they were given the responsibility of scattering the remnant and disciplining them for the remnant’s failings. But, once the gentiles are blessed, once they have scattered the remnant and destroyed most of them (leaving only a remnant of what was here before), then the gentiles are warned. They must repent. Without repentance the fate of the gentiles will be a similar holocaust of destruction, scattering and treading down; leaving only a remnant of the gentiles still upon the land.
So the roles will reverse. At first, the gentiles dominate and the remnant recedes, at last the remnant will dominate and the gentiles recede.
The remnant’s role and the gentiles’ pride are interconnected with one another. It is for this reason, if no other, the subject of the remnant is important to know something about.
So, we continue.

8 thoughts on “3 Nephi 20: 14-15

  1. I never have understood why the punishment of a people doesn’t occur until many generations later. A particular generation do the deed, but their children’s children get punished for it….as with the remnant….as with the Jews who crucified our Lord.

  2. Okay, so this is the first time I’ve heard that the remnant itself shall do the treading/scattering of the gentiles. This makes the Hopi theory unlikely, but the Latino theory plausible.

  3. Anonymous September 16, 2010 8:09 AM:

    Interesting thoughts…could it also be that the peaceful portions of the Remnant who will not take up the sword against their neighbors are excused from the disciplining part (since only the wicked punish the wicked) and the wicked portion of the Remnant are assigned and let loose to do the destruction?

    Meaning a combination of what you propose as possibilities or even other possibilities?

    A lot of the comments have been very uplifting and interesting these past few posts. This is an exciting topic.


  4. Denver, In an earlier post you stated “this continent” as North America. Now you have switched/narrowed it to America without any further details or quotes from your earlier blog. In your earlier post you acknowledged that Columbus never made it to North America; in fact on his remaining trips he landed in Central America. Joseph Smith at one time speculated that Zarahemla was in Central America. I’m not advocating any location, only that you seemed to have changed your “this continent” location without any further reasoning.

  5. Anonymous September 16, 2010 9:58 AM:

    Could it be that Bountiful was in North America while Zarahemla in the South? I don’t care too much for exact locations, but a general idea that Bountiful is North of Zarahemla helps harmonize internal statements against what Denver is saying about America perhaps. Just a thought.


  6. “that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people—”

    This reminds me so much of 3 Nephi:

    9:13 O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

    10:6 O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.

    16:13 But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.

    24:7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye say: Wherein shall we return?

  7. Bountiful was near enough to Zarahemla that the Nephites could build a fortification around Bountiful, Zarahemla and the land in between them (3 Ne 3). This couldn’t be possible if one was in Central and the other in North America. In todays ease of travel, Bountiful would be considered a close city to Zarahemla. We can only make sense of the stories in the Book of Mormon if the cities and towns mentioned were relatively close to each other (few hundred miles square). We are left with a Central or North America location to choose from (as far as the towns actually mentioned in the B of M). It’s certainly true that Nephites/Lamanites remnants could have traveled anywhere else as Denver Mentioned. I think there is still ambiguity from statements that Joseph made about the subject, let alone trying to find a reasonable location from clues given in the text of the B of M. However the more central message of this post, the remnant-gentile role reversal is the same regardless of the location of B of M story towns.

  8. Denver:

    This prophesy, about the remnant decimating the gentile, comes from Micah yet portends a latter-day American fulfillment. Do you think that Micah originally had solely an American end in mind when he gave the prophesy.

    In “Nephi’s Isaiah” you indicated that Nephi used Isaiah’s words to delivered a message to us that was not Isaiah’s message as we use Shakespeare’s words in ways different than Shakespeare intended.


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