The Divinity of Jesus Christ and His Atonement
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths, the “Mormon Church”) believe that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer and Lord over all mankind. He was born of the virgin Mary and was conceived and brought forth by the power of God. Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ was the literal son of God in the flesh, and that Jesus Christ suffered for all the sins of mankind so that all people might be able to repent and be made clean from their sins in order to return back to live with God our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ came forth as the resurrected Lord on the 3rd day after His death. He lives today, and leads and directs the affairs of His kingdom on this earth.
The subtitle of the Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” The Old Testament in the Bible contains prophesies of the birth, ministry, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Then in the New Testament are found four eyewitness accounts of the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies, making the Bible a powerful testament that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Savior of the world. The Book of Mormon contains numerous, inspired prophecies and testimonies of the birth, ministry, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as well as the account of the visit of the resurrected Jesus Christ in ancient America shortly after His ascension in Jerusalem, and thus fulfills the law of witnesses by joining the Bible as “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”
The Book of Mormon is full of prophecies of the Savior’s life and mission. Consider the following powerful statements of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Between 600 and 592 bc, Nephi recorded a vision he had of the birth and baptism of the Savior:
I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white. . . . And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! . . . And I looked, and beheld the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him. . . . And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken; and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove. (1 Nephi 11:13, 21, 24, 27)
Nephi also witnessed the Savior’s ministry and His crucifixion:
And I beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people, in power and great glory; and the multitudes were gathered together to hear him; and I beheld that they cast him out from among them. And I also beheld twelve others following him. . . . And I looked, and I beheld the Lamb of God going forth among the children of men. And I beheld multitudes of people who were sick, and who were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits; and the angel spake and showed all these things unto me. And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out. . . . And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world. . . . And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world. (1 Nephi 11:28–29, 31–33)
In addition to this amazing prophecy of the ministry and crucifixion of the Savior, Nephi also recorded a masterful testimony by his younger brother Jacob in 2 Nephi 9. This chapter contains 54 verses and beautifully explains how the “infinite atonement” of Jesus Christ ransoms mankind from the Fall of Adam and eve.
O how great the goodness of our God, who pre- pareth 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. . . . O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell…which is endless torment….And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men . . . who belong to the family of Adam. And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day. And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. . . . O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation. (2 Nephi 9:10, 19, 21–23, 45)
Repeated readings of 2 Nephi 9 with sincere prayer and pondering could motivate a grievous sinner to repent and receive mercy and forgiveness through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, an apostle of Jesus Christ, called Jacob’s discourse, “one of the most enlightening discourses ever delivered in regard to the atonement. . . . It should be carefully read by every person seeking salvation.”1
The first four hundred pages of the Book of Mormon contain the prophecies of more than a dozen different prophets who testified of the birth and saving Atonement of Jesus Christ. Consider the specificity of the following prophecy given by Nephi, given around 545 bc, shortly before his death: “There is save one Messiah spoken of by the prophets, and that Messiah is he who should be rejected of the Jews. For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (2 Nephi 25:18–19).
How could it be clearer? To help us understand how important the knowledge of the Savior was to Nephi and his people, he explained: “We labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ. . . . And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:23, 26).
Various Book of Mormon prophets prophesied and bore testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ from hundreds of years before the Savior’s birth right up to 5 bc:
• Enos—Between 544 and 421 bc (enos 1:26–27) • Amaleki—Between 279 and 130 bc (omni 1:26) • King Benjamin—About 124 bc (Mosiah 3:5–8, 17) • Abinadi—About 150 bc (Mosiah 16:6–13) • Alma the Elder—Between 100 and 92 bc (Mosiah 26:22–26—words of the Savior) • Alma the Younger—Between 83–73 bc (Alma 5:48; 7:7–14; 34:4–8; 36:17–20) 38 • Aaron—About 90 bc (Alma 22:12–14) Helaman, son of Helaman—About 30 bc (Helaman 5:9–12) Samuel the Lamanite—5 bc (Helaman 14:2–8)
The Book of Mormon contains the sacred account of the visit of the resurrected Jesus Christ to the inhabitants of ancient America, after his crucifixion and resurrection in Jerusalem. The following was recorded by another prophet named Nephi, who lived on the American continent in ad 34, as he related the account of a group of people gathered in the land called Bountiful:
They heard a voice as if it came out of heaven . . . and it said unto them: Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him. And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multi- tude were turned upon him. . . . And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying: Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. . . . And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come. And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying: Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him (3 Nephi 11:3, 6–10, 15 –17).
The resurrected Lord and Redeemer then taught these people his gospel, called twelve special witnesses, gave them power and authority to baptize, organized His Church, instituted the sacrament, and ministered among the people for three days. Third Nephi chapters 12–30 is the account of the resurrected Christ’s ministry among the Nephites in America in ad 34. Third Nephi contains the actual teachings of the resurrected Christ and may be referred to as the fifth Gospel, along with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Following the Savior’s ministry in America the people enjoyed, an unprecedented, millennial-like era that lasted for nearly two hundred years. The four-page book of Fourth Nephi is a brief account of this peaceful time during which “there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God” (4 Nephi 1:15–16).
The prophet Mormon lived about ad 310–385. At age ten, he was recognized as a serious-minded youth, and at age fifteen he became a military leader among the Nephites. Mormon was selected by the Lord to make an abridgment of the sacred history of his people and was the principle recorder of the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. Mormon was a great prophet and witnessed the downfall of his people. He prophesied that the record he made on plates of gold would be brought to light in the latter days. Of this record, Mormon declared,
Now these things are written . . . to be hid up unto the Lord that they may come forth in his own due time . . . they shall come forth according to the commandment of the Lord. And behold, they shall go unto the unbelieving of the Jews; and for this intent shall they go—that they may be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God . . . unto the fulfilling of his covenant; and also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel (Mormon 5:12–15).
Mormon’s son, Moroni, the last of the Book of Mormon prophets, recorded his testimony of Jesus Christ before burying the plates in the hill Cumorah: “Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32).
“The principal and commanding figure in the Book of Mormon, from first chapter to last, is the Lord Jesus Christ. In its unparalleled focus on the Messianic message of the Savior of the world, the Book of Mormon is rightly referred to as . . . ‘another testament’ of Jesus Christ.”2
The Book of Mormon testifies of the redeeming power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ by relating accounts of the change of heart experienced by the “most vile” of sinners. The list includes Alma the elder, Alma the younger, the four sons of king Mosiah, king Lamoni’s father, and Zeezrom, a wicked lawyer.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is paramount to the beliefs of Mormons. Learn more at the official site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the “Mormon Church”).
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. Request a free copy today.
Attend a local meetinghouse.
T. Rose, How to Know the Book of Mormon is True, (Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort, Inc., 2010), 35-41.
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