“Behold Again the Condescension of God”

Monte S. Nyman

Nephi is again invited to “behold the condescension of God” (v. 26). He had just seen the condescension of Elohim to be the father of his Only Begotten Son in the flesh. He is now invited to see the condescension of the great Jehovah. Jehovah was “the God of [their] fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob [who] yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum” (1 Nephi 19:10). In other words, Jehovah was the Old Testament name of Jesus Christ, the God who ministered to the people of the earth in his spirit body before he was born.

The Apostle Paul also testified that Christ was the Old Testament God.

1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. [1 Corinthians 10:1–4]

Thus Nephi was shown that God (Jesus Christ) would condescend from Godhood to come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood.

Nephi saw the baptism of the Lamb of God by John the Baptist (v. 27), of which the New Testament Gospels had testified as discussed under 1 Nephi 10:7–10. Jesus’ ministry among the multitudes in power and great glory (v. 28) is not enlarged upon by Nephi, but what he said is a confirmation of the New Testament accounts. The twelve others following him (v. 29) was the pattern for the New Testament and the present dispensation.

13 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.
14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. [Mark 3:13–15]

The Prophet Joseph Smith was also instructed by the Lord to call twelve apostles to assist in the work of the restoration of the gospel in this latter day.

26 And now, behold, there are others who are called to declare my gospel, both unto Gentile and unto Jew;
27 Yea, even twelve; and the Twelve shall be my disciples, and they shall take upon them my name; and the Twelve are they who shall desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart.
28 And if they desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my gospel unto every creature.
29 And they are they who are ordained of me to baptize in my name, according to that which is written;
30 And you have that which is written before you; wherefore, you must perform it according to the words which are written. [D&C 18:26–30)

The Twelve latter-day apostles were called and organized on February 14, 1835 (see HC, 2:186–189). There have been Twelve special witnesses of the Savior serving from that day to the present time.

Book of Mormon Commentary: I Nephi Wrote This Record