36. "On the Morrow Come I into the World"
The first section of Lesson 36 focuses on the signs of the Savior's birth, which presents an opportunity to briefly review the charts of the Samuel's prophecies from last week. Samuel, however, was not the only one to give signs of the Savior's advent; prophets in all dispensations, in the Old and New Worlds, declared the coming and the atonement of the Son of God. Such prophecies related not only to his birth and mission but also to specific details of his ministry and death. New Testament Chart 8-9: "Prophecies of Christ's Ministry in the Meridian of Time" enumerates these prophecies with their scriptural references and categorizes them in topical groupings. Several of these categories, including "His Birth" and "Time and Place of Birth" are particularly pertinent for Lesson 36.
"What the Book of Mormon Is (Concluded)," Sidney B. Sperry, in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 4, no. 1
This article reviews the authors of the books from 3 Nephi to Moroni. It outlines when each book was written along with themes and topics. It describes Mormon's work as the compiler.
"Seeing Third Nephi as the Holy of Holies of the Book of Mormon," John W. Welch, in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 19, no. 1
Third Nephi and its account of the ministry of the resurrected Jesus to the Nephites has long been seen as the pinnacle of the Book of Mormon. This text can also be viewed as the Holy of Holies of the Book of Mormon. Everything in 3 Nephi, especially the ministry of the Savior, echoes themes related to the temple and the presence of the Lord in the Holy of Holies. Themes such as silence, timelessness, unity, awe, and consecration confirm this interpretation.
3 Nephi 1
Did Jesus die at Passover in the early spring of A.D. 30? This article uses the New Testament, Book of Mormon, Mishnah, scholarly research, historical sources, and astronomical data to propose that Jesus died on Thursday, April 6 (Julian calendar), A.D. 30, which was the day of the preparation of Passover.
"When Was Jesus Born? A Response to a Recent Proposal," Lincoln H. Blumell, Thomas A. Wayment, BYU Studies, Vol. 51, no. 3
When was Jesus born? In response to the article by Jeffrey R. Chadwick published by BYU Studies in 2010, two professors in the BYU Department of Ancient Scripture push the conversation forward and offer a different interpretation of the data.
"Virgin Birth," Eleanor Colton, in Encyclopedia of Mormonism
An encyclopedia entry on Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ, who was a virgin at the time of Christ's birth.
3 Nephi 2:15
"If Lamanites were black, why didn't anyone notice?" Brant Gardner, FAIRMormon Blog
Brant Gardner argues that when speaking of the Lamanites' "skin of blackness," it may not be referring to skin pigmentation. While the text speaks of the "mark" and the "skin of blackness" set upon the Lamanites, the way they behave in the text seems to indicate that it may not be referring to their actual skin color.
3 Nephi 3
"Thieves and Robbers," John W. Welch and Kelly Ward, in Reexploring the Book of Mormon
While a common thief is one who commits petty theft, in the ancient world, a "robber" had a more sinister role. Robbers often indicated that they were outsiders, highway men, brigands, and participated in secret oaths.
3 Nephi 4
"Girded About with a Lambskin," Matthew Brown, in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 6 no. 2
The pulbication of the Book of Mormon brought forward the first of many comparisons between the restorational work of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his surrounding environment, including Freemasonry. One point of comparison has been the lambskin apparel mentioned in 3 Nephi 4:7. The author suggests a possible connection between this item of apparel and ritual clothing that was worn in ancient Israel, Egypt, and Mesoamerica. He also suggests a possible reason for the use of this item of clothing among the secret combinations in the Book of Mormon. Finally, he discusses the lambskin apron used in Freemasonic ritual.
"The Execution of Zemnarihah," John W. Welch, in Reexploring the Book of Mormon
This article explains why Zemnarihah would have been hanged as his execution. In Israelite law, the ultimate punishment was hanging upon a tree because it was believed that someone hanged on a tree was cursed of God.
"More on the Hanging of Zemnarihah," John A. Tvedtnes, in Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s
This article provides an interesting note for further reasoning why Zemnarihah was hanged on a tree. The Temple Scroll indicates that hanging would be the punishment of spies. Since Zemnarihah was part of the band of Gadianton, perhaps he was classified as a spy or insurrectionist.
3 Nephi 6:14
"Word Groups in the Book of Mormon," John A. Tvedtnes and Kevin L. Barney, in Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s
3 Nephi 6:14 uses the groups of words "firm, steadfast, and immovable." While it may seem commonplace to list adjectives together, Tvedtnes and Barney discuss how these word groups and word pairs formed a large part of Biblical rhetoric, and how they play into the Book of Mormon.
3 Nephi 7
"Possible Book of Mormon Parallel," Matthew Roper, in Insights 20, no. 10
An interesting phenomenon occurred in Spanish America, when 3 suns were witnessed in the sky, providing a possible parallel to the sign of Christ's birth.
From about 91 B.C. to A.D. 30, the Nephite civilization was governed by chief judges. Each judge's name, known church role, tenure, cause of termination, and relation to his predecessors are represented on this chart. Of the thirteen Nephite judges charted, nearly half were assassinated, indicating serious governmental turmoil during the reign of the judges.
In this composite chart representing general trends, the first fifteen years following the birth of Jesus Christ show a decline in all areas. Then, with the advent of the wars with the Gadianton robbers, righteousness and political unity increase significantly. Interestingly, between A.D. 20 and 28 prosperity, peace, and political unity increase together while righteousness decreases. It can be argued that the low points of prosperity and political unity are caused by the people's unrighteousness, as the Lord declares would happen in Alma 37:13.