“For the Space of Three Days”

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

The Book of Mormon makes clear how the Lord deals with His people when they persist in unrighteousness: “in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them” (Helaman 15:3). Out of divine charity, the Lord reveals far in advance the consequences—always destructive and often catastrophic—for persistent disobedience. Such is the case at the time of the Savior’s death when widespread destruction occurs throughout the land as foretold by Samuel the Lamanite. The Lord always speaks with the “voice of warning” (D&C 1:4) when it is called for. Such has also been the case in the latter days. The Lord, “knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth” (D&C 1:17), continues to warn us in this dispensation to repent or face certain destruction.

The Book of Mormon is a handbook for safety and refuge in the Lord through holiness and obedience. From the beginning of the world, the Lord’s prophets have warned of the lethal consequences of ongoing, unrepentant sin. Such is the warning of Samuel the Lamanite to the Nephite peoples as they persist in their downward spiral into the abyss of prideful worldliness and rebellious self-satisfaction. The people, blinded to spiritual truth and deaf to the clarion call to repentance, are consumed by the cataclysmic destruction that takes place at the time of the Savior’s crucifixion. The word of the Lord is thereby fulfilled, as it always is, “whether by mine own voice, or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (see D&C 1:38). The events covered by these passages from 3 Nephi demonstrate again that the wicked will be punished and the more righteous preserved. The Savior will soon be introduced to the surviving multitudes by the voice of Elohim, our Heavenly Father, and will show Himself unto the people in an overwhelming manifestation of majesty and love. He then will teach the doctrine of the kingdom and encourage all to come unto Him through faith, repentance, and the ordinance of baptism by water and by fire—so that He might receive them as His own.

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2