“I Heard Thunderings”

Alan C. Miner

The dramatic catastrophes in the New World that attended the crucifixion of Christ were prophesied 600 years before by Nephi in 1 Nephi 12:2-6. Jeff Lindsay writes that unknown to Joseph Smith and still unknown to most LDS people, it appears that Nephi was not the only ancient prophet who knew of the dramatic upheavals in nature that would accompany the crucifixion of Christ. And Nephi was not the only prophet who gave detailed prophecies about the mission and life of Christ.

An ancient document, the Book of the Rolls contains a remarkable prophecy said to be from Adam to correlates well with the Book of Mormon. In this document, Adam is told that Christ would come to earth and be born of a virgin named Mary. Christ long before his mortal birth, tells Adam:

I will come down to thee, and in thy house will I dwell and with thy body will I be clothed. . . . I will fast forty days; . . . I will receive baptism; . . . I will be lifted up on the cross; . . . I will endure lies; . . . I will be beaten with the whip; . . . I will taste vinegar; . . . my hands will be nailed; . . . I will be pierced with a spear; . . . I will thunder in the height; . . . I will darken the sun; . . . I will cleave the rocks; . . . after three days, which I have spent in the grave, I will raise up the body which I took from thee. (Book of the Rolls in Gibson, f.100b-101a, p. 16)

The details about thundering, darkening the sun, and cleaving the rocks are reported prominently in the Book of Mormon (Helaman 14:20-22; 3 Nephi 8:17-20; and 1 Nephi 12:4). The Bible briefly mentions three hours of darkness and say that the earth quaked and the rocks rent (Matthew 27), but makes no mention of thundering. Thus the ancient Book of the Rolls lends plausibility to detailed prophecies of Christ in the Book of Mormon and is consistent with the prophecy of Nephi about violent manifestations in nature at the time Christ was crucified. [Jeff Lindsay, "Concerning Nephi's Detailed Prophecy about the Catastrophe," in Book of Mormon Evidences, jefflindsay.com/BMEvidences.shtml, Jan 7, 2001]

1 Nephi 12:6 I saw the heavens open, and the Lamb of God descending out of heaven ([Illustration]): "Behold I Am Jesus Christ." Nephi saw in vision that the resurrected Lord would appear on the American continent. Artist: Gary Kapp. [Thomas R. Valletta ed., The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, 1999, p. 32]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary