“The Lamb of God Descends Among the Righteous Nephites”

Monte S. Nyman

The sign given to Nephi by the Spirit [Holy Ghost], before the angel becomes his messenger or guide, to “behold a man descending out of heaven” (11:7), is now given (v. 6). Nephi bears record that it is “the Lamb of God.” The Spirit had said he would “bear record that it is the Son of God” (11:7).

Nephi bears record that the Holy Ghost fell upon twelve disciples who were chosen and ordained to minister to Nephi’s seed (vv. 7–8). Although they are called disciples, probably to distinguish between them and the Jerusalem twelve, they were ordained apostles. The Prophet Joseph taught: “The book of Mormon tells us that our Savior made His appearance upon this continent after His resurrection; that he planted the gospel here in all its fulness, and richness, and power, and blessing; that they had Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, and Evangelists; the same order, the same priesthood the same ordinances, gifts, powers, and blessings that were enjoyed on the eastern continent” (HC, 4:538). Moroni also calls them apostles. Quoting the words of Christ to the twelve Nephite disciples; he said, “ye shall give the Holy Ghost; and in my name shall ye give it, for thus do mine apostles” (Moroni 2:2). However, Nephi is shown a distinction between the two apostolic bodies of priesthood. The Jerusalem Twelve will judge (stand as special witnesses) all the house of Israel, and thus they will be judges of the Nephite Twelve; while the Nephite Twelve will only judge the seed of Nephi and his brethren (vv. 9–10). Mormon later enlarges upon the roles of these two priesthood quorums as judges (Mormon 3:17–22). Nephi also observes that the Nephite Twelve “are righteous forever; for because of their faith in the Lamb of God their garments are made white in his blood” (v. 10). This is Nephi’s way of saying that their calling and election would be made sure, or they would receive the more sure word of prophecy, or the Second Comforter. In other words, their salvation was assured.

Book of Mormon Commentary: I Nephi Wrote This Record