“Nephi Did Also Do Many More Miracles”

Brant Gardner

There is a powerful parallel in Nephi’s preparation of the people for the Messiah’s visit. In the New Testament, Jesus cast out devils and raised at least three people from the dead. In the New World at approximately the same time, Nephi functions as a Jesus-surrogate, performing the same types of miracles, including raising a dead person.

The parallelism of these events suggests that they had a particular meaning that pointed to, and were fulfilled in, the resurrection of the Atoning Messiah. Although the post-resurrection appearance of the Messiah in both continents had some differences, the parallels are important. Mormon gives these preparatory parallels only passing notice, perhaps because he did not know about the similar events in the Old World or did not understand how Nephi functioned as a Jesus-surrogate just prior to the Messiah’s visit to the New World.

Culture: Raising Nephi’s brother from death is also mentioned in 3 Nephi 19:4 where we learn that his name was Timothy. We have no more information about him but may assume that he was also righteous because he was worthy of this pre-figuring “resurrection.” We may also assume that he was stoned by the people for his preaching, given the antagonism that met Nephi. Stoning as a means of execution was known among the Maya and the Aztecs, confirming that it was regionally known.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5