3 Nephi 5:1-3

Brant Gardner

There was originally no chapter break between the text of our chapters 3–5. Understanding that these three verses were part of the previous chapter allows us to see the context for this discussion of Nephite righteousness. They had just almost two years of struggle against the Gadiantons, during which they had been confined to a much smaller area. In spite of the hardships, however, they had managed to retain their faithfulness to the commandments, and thus understood that it was the fulfillment of the promise of the land that they were saved from the Gadiantons.

Although Mormon has told his readers that the Gadiantons would eventually be the downfall of the Nephite nation (see Helaman 2:13–!4), he also wants us to understand that faithfulness to God, His commandments, and His covenants could have protected them. Because such faithfulness could protect the Nephites, we are to understand that it may also protect us.

An important aspect of this Nephite faithfulness was knowing “that Christ had come.” We are reading Mormon’s lead into the supreme event of Nephite history, when Christ not only had come to the world, but would come to the righteous Nephites in the New World.

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