3 Nephi 21 – The Covenant

Robert A. Boyd

After telling the people that they should publish peace in the last chapter, Jesus gives them a sign to know when the long dispersion of the house of Israel will end and the gathering of Israel will begin and Zion will be established.

The sign is this: when the Gentiles learn of the house of Israel, when they learn of the gospel of Jesus Christ that will be restored through Joseph Smith, that’s the sign that the covenant is happening.

When we receive this truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we will spread that truth out to the remnant of Israel that He is talking to after His resurrection—the seed of the Nephites and Lamanites who have dwindled in unbelief by the time this sign happens. The Book of Mormon, which shall be brought forth from the Gentiles, shall restore these people to the truth again.

For it is wisdom in the Father that they [the Gentiles] should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel.”

3 Nephi 21:4

Our freedom comes from God, not man. He set us up in this nation so that His gospel could be restored and go forth throughout the world from a free people capable of doing such a daunting task. We must humble ourselves and not be lifted up in pride, or it could all be taken away from us.

Jesus talks about bringing forth a “great and a marvelous work among them” in that day. (9) He talks about Joseph Smith and that his life “shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.” (10) 

He warns the Gentiles again that they will be destroyed if they do not repent. If we repent, we are adopted into the house of Israel and become partakers of the blessings of that covenant.

Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles; and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.”

3 Nephi 21:11

Being the covenant people of God has nothing to do with race, culture, our birth country, or any of that. It has to do with whether we are willing to listen and heed the words Jesus Christ gives us through scripture and His prophets.

If we don’t choose to repent, great woes will come upon us:

I will cut off thy horses out of thy midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots.

And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;

And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers.

Thy graven images I will also cut off; and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands.”

3 Nephi 21:14-17

Will we choose to be God’s covenant people, which means loving and worshiping Him above all else?

Or will we worship the works of our own hands—politics, walls, worldly causes and creeds, sports, Hollywood icons, even our own families. If any of these come before our God, we are breaking our covenant with Him.

The good thing about being a covenant-keeping people is that it strengthens us, our families, our nations, and our faith in the eternal. But we can’t flip-flop who is top priority without dire consequences.  

For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel.

3 Nephi 21:20

The pattern in the scriptures is a call for repentance. He outlines woes if we don’t. Then calls us to repent once more.

But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance.”

3 Nephi 21:22

Will we choose to repent and keep our covenants with God?

Those who repent will eventually unite with the Book of Mormon remnant people to build a New Jerusalem.  

And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.

3 Nephi 21:25

That will be a glorious day. Then will the work commence among the lost tribes of Israel to bring them back to the truth and knowledge of God.

And they shall go out from all nations; and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward.”

3 Nephi 21:29

Will we walk with God and let Him be our rearward? Will we serve Him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength? Will we publish peace and work to gather scattered Israel, as our prophet has asked us to do? If we are covenant-keeping people, we will.



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