Samuel prophesies that the Savior will come into the world in five years. He says great signs in the heavens shall appear to mark His coming—a new star—and the night before, there will be no darkness because of the brightness of this star. These things will cause them to fall to the ground in astonishment.
And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.”Helaman 14:8
Samuel tells them this is why he has returned, to give them these signs of Christ’s birth and to call them to repentance.
And now, because I am a Lamanite, and have spoken unto you the words which the Lord hath commanded me, and because it was hard against you, ye are angry with me and do seek to destroy me, and have cast me out from among you.”Helaman 14:10
Do we ever look down on someone because of what race, culture, or economic status they may be?
Do we ever ignore or not listen to someone because of their differences?
Samuel had been called of God to warn the Nephites, but most of them only saw the color of his skin and refused to listen to him because of that.
He tells them he has come upon the wall to give them God’s message—one of warning and one of invitation. Warning them against their iniquity. Inviting them to repent and come back to God.
And also that ye might know of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and of earth; the Creator of all things from the beginning; and that ye might know of the signs of his coming, to the intent that ye might believe on his name.
And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.”Helaman 14:12-13
He’s given them signs of Christ’s birth. Now, he wants to give them signs of Christ’s death, but he first explains why Christ must die.
For behold, he surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord.”Helaman 14:15
He clarifies in the next verses how Christ makes possible the unconditional salvation for men (of the body) and conditional, or spiritual salvation, through repentance (the soul). We were all cut off from God’s presence because of the Fall of Adam.
But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord.”Helaman 14:17
This physical reuniting of our bodies with our spirits will be universal, and it will also place us next to the Lord to be judged of our works, thoughts, desires, everything.
That’s where the next conditional salvation becomes super important. On our own, there is no way we could stand before God with a clear conscience. We’ve all made mistakes that would keep us forever from living with Him in His perfect state.
That’s where Christ comes in a second time. He’s already saved us physically. Now He can save us spiritually…if we let Him.
Yea, and it bringeth to pass the condition of repentance, that whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness.”Helaman 14:18
Now he spells out the sign of Christ’s death. Darkness. The sun, moon and stars will not show when He dies and lays in the tomb. Darkness will cover the Americas for three days, until Christ rises again. The earth will groan and shake and contort. Cities will be destroyed by mountains, becoming flat. Flat lands will become mountains. The oceans will heave. The earth will be in turmoil when its Creator suffers and dies. Saints shall arise from the graves and visit many. [It is interesting to note, that the Nephites forgot to include this detail from Samuel—about saints arising from graves and visiting many. When Christ comes about 35-40 years later, He insists this detail be added to their record.]
He ends by telling the people that they are free to choose for themselves. They may believe and be saved, or condemn themselves to everlasting destruction by not believing. God has given them their free agency, but they are accountable for their choices.
I love these signs of Christ Samuel gave the people—both the righteous and the wicked. Light would mark Christ’s birth. Darkness would mark His death.
The Book of Mormon has much light to give the world today to prepare us for Christ’s Second Coming. Many of the things that happen in here will be paralleled today, before He comes. The wickedness of the people. The contention and dissensions. The dividing into tribes.
- Am I watching and observing signs, recognizing what’s happening?
- Or am I caught up in the distractions and confusion of the world?
- Am I missing out on signs and invitations by the prophets to repent and get my life in order?
- How can I do better at being quick to observe signs from a prophet today?
- How can I be humble enough to accept invitations to repent and prepare myself and my family to be ready for the Lord to come again?
Resources: Come Follow Me manual – Book of Mormon 2020