“Become As a Little Child… or Ye Can in Nowise Receive These Things… or Ye Can in Nowise Inherit the Kingdom of God”

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet
The natural man cannot comprehend the things of God (see 1 Corinthians 2:11-14) and as a result cannot embrace the saving principles and ordinances of the gospel. Becoming as a little child in order to receive the teachings of the Savior implies overcoming the natural man through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The requirement to become as a little child to enter into the kingdom of God means much more than childlike innocence. It implies a submission to the will of the Father and a recognition of our total dependence upon the Lord. (See Mosiah 3:19; see also Commentary 2:153-54.)

“They Cast Their Eyes Up Again Towards Heaven and Behold They Saw a Man Descending Out of Heaven”

This is the crowning spiritual event in the Book of Mormon. Words cannot adequately describe the thoughts and feelings that must have filled the minds and hearts of those present at the temple in Bountiful. It is doctrinally significant to note what the Savior did as he appeared to the people and for what purposes he did it. He taught and testified of himself (see verses 10-11): He is the Christ, the Messiah who every prophet had testified would come into the world (see 1 Nephi 10:4-5; Jacob 7:11).

The “bitter cup”- which is the symbolic representation of the painful demands of justice that had to be met in order for the infinite and eternal sacrifice to be fulfilled- had been drunk (see Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:42; compare D&C 19:16-19). Standing before the people was the glorious evidence that the promise of redemption was now realized. No object lesson or teaching method could teach these doctrinal truths more powerfully than seeing the resurrected Lord himself and hearing him declare with his own mouth these saving truths. It was not enough to just declare to the people that the “infinite and eternal sacrifice” had been made in their behalf.

The Savior next demonstrated his infinite love and compassion by inviting every person present to come forth and “feel the prints oh the nails” (see verses 14-15). This sacred procession must have taken several hours as each of the 2, 500 people saw with their eyes and felt with their own hands the living Christ. Jesus lovingly, patiently, and tenderly stood there allowing so many to handle him and to praise his holy name, not because he desired or needed to be the focus of their worshipful adoration but rather because he desired them to gain an apostolic witness of his divinity. “That ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world,” was his stated objective.

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4