All the Prophets Prophesied of Christ


Testimony about the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ is clearly evident in the teachings of the prophets who preceded him.

All the Prophets Prophesied of Christ

The scene was not rare: many of the Lord’s people had forgotten their God. Some, in fact, were glorying in their iniquity. To make matters worse, their legal system had been corrupted by leaders intent on acquiring wealth and power at any cost. The Lord’s response was to send a prophet. Speaking God’s word with boldness, Nephi, son of Helaman, called the Nephites to repentance, confronting them with their sins and revealing their judges to be members of a secret society called the Gadianton band. (See Hel. 7.)

The wicked responded as the wicked generally do: they tried to incite the people to silence him, perhaps even kill him. But the spirit of prophecy was upon Nephi, and enough people believed him that he escaped harm.

At the heart of his preaching was one vital fact: God had always sent word through his prophets of what his people needed to know to be happy and at peace. Foremost among what they needed to know was that the Messiah, the Son of God, would come to earth to redeem mankind. All who looked to him would live.

Nephi then listed a number of prophets who had detailed the Savior’s advent. Among these prophets were Moses, Abraham, Zenos, Zenock, Ezias, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lehi, and Nephi. Indeed, Nephi pointed out, “many prophets” over the centuries had testified of Christ. (See Hel. 8:11–22.)

This observation was not unique to Nephi. More than a century earlier, Abinadi told King Noah: “Did not Moses prophesy … concerning the coming of the Messiah, and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began—have they not spoken more or less concerning these things?” (Mosiah 13:33.)

So clear was this understanding that Amulek could tell the apostate Zoramites in 74 B.C. that it was “impossible that [they] should be ignorant of the things which have been spoken concerning the coming of Christ,” for that fact had been taught to them bountifully. (Alma 34:2.) If they weren’t aware of Christ’s impending mortal ministry, it was because they were unacquainted with God’s word.

An in-depth study of the Book of Mormon reveals this to be true. So clear are the revelations that the Nephites should have known the name by which the Messiah would be called in mortality, when he would be born, where he would be born, the name of his mother, many details of his ministry, how he would suffer and die, and that his resurrection would break the bands of death for all mankind. More importantly, they should have understood how his atonement could reconcile them to God and what they had to do to receive that marvelous gift. All this was known and taught by the prophets on what we know today as the American continent.

The same details—in the same clarity—seem not to have been available to the people in Jerusalem, at least not at the time of the Lord’s appearance among them. Even so, enough prophecies and foreshadowings remained in the scriptures that those who read them or heard them read could have had many clues to apply in their search for the coming Messiah. As the accompanying chart shows, Jesus Christ did not come to earth unheralded. From Adam to John the Baptist and from Lehi to Samuel the Lamanite, the prophets testified of his coming and taught of his atonement. These prophecies revealed Jesus of Nazareth to be the Son of God. They declared unequivocally that a person must have faith in Christ, repent, be baptized in his name by one who has authority, and receive the Holy Ghost as a guide and companion. Those who did, and who kept their covenants with Christ to the end of their days, would be raised by the power of his atonement to celestial glory in God’s presence.

Many of the ancient Nephites received these truths with gladness. But others rejected them as sheer speculation. If we had been among those taught by Nephi, son of Helaman, how would we have reacted? Would we have known the prophecies well enough to recognize the truth when it came? Would we have rejoiced in the Savior’s future advent? Or would we, too, have looked beyond the mark?

Prophecies Detailing Christ’s Ministry in the Meridian of Time

This chart identifies many, but not all, of the scriptural passages that foretold the Messiah’s advent centuries before he came. In some instances, because of space limitations, a grouping combines related prophecies. Interested readers may examine the scriptures referenced and determine which prophet referenced a specific detail of the Savior’s atoning mission.

His Birth

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

a. The Creator, Jehovah, would take a mortal body in order to redeem mankind

The brother of Jared, Nephi, Jacob, King Benjamin, Abinadi, Ammon, Lamoni, John the Baptist

Isa. 44:24; Ether 3:6–16; 1 Ne. 19:7–12; 2 Ne. 9:5; Mosiah 3:5; Mosiah 7:27; Mosiah 13:34; Mosiah 15:1; Mosiah 19:13; D&C 93:6–11

b. He would be the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, the God of Israel

Adam, Enoch, Moses, Isaiah, Nephi, Jacob, Abinadi, Alma, John the Baptist

Moses 1:6, 33; Moses 2:1, 26; Moses 6:52; Isa. 9:6–7; 1 Ne. 11:20–21; 1 Ne. 22:12; 2 Ne. 25:12; Jacob 4:5; Mosiah 15:2–5; Alma 5:48; Alma 7:10; Alma 9:26; D&C 93:11–14

c. His mother would be a virgin, a descendant of Jacob through King David; she would be from Nazareth, and her name would be Mary

Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nephi, King Benjamin, Alma

Gen. 49:24; Isa. 7:14; Isa. 11:1; Jer. 23:5–6; Jer. 33:15–16; 1 Ne. 11:13–21; Mosiah 3:8; Alma 7:10

d. Signs (a star, light, etc.) would attend his birth

Samuel the Lamanite

Hel. 14:3–7

His Name

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

a. The Messiah would be called “Salvation” (in Hebrew, Yeshua; in English, Jesus)

Moses, Isaiah

Ex. 15:2; Isa. 12:2–6

b. His name would be Jesus Christ

Adam, Enoch, Noah, brother of Jared, Nephi, Jacob, King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma

Moses 6:52, 57; Moses 8:23–24; Ether 3:14–16; 2 Ne. 10:3; 2 Ne. 25:19; 2 Ne. 31:10; Jacob 4:11; Mosiah 3:8, 17; Mosiah 7:27; Alma 5:48

His Time of Birth

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

Jesus would be born in the meridian of time; 600 years after Lehi left Jerusalem and 5 years after Samuel’s prophecy

Adam, Enoch, Moses, Lehi, Nephi, Samuel the Lamanite

Moses 5:57; Moses 6:57, 62; Moses 7:45–46; 1 Ne. 10:4; 1 Ne. 19:8; 2 Ne. 25:19; Hel. 14:2

His Place of Birth

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

Christ would be born among the Jews near Jerusalem at a place called Bethlehem

Micah, Jacob, Alma

Micah 5:2; 2 Ne. 10:3; Alma 7:10

Details of His Ministry

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

a. A messenger prophet would prepare the way for Messiah’s mission

Isaiah, Lehi

Isa. 40:3; 1 Ne. 10:7–9

b. Christ would come out of Egypt

Hosea

Hosea 11:1

c. He would be a child in Nazareth

Nephi

1 Ne. 11:13, 20

d. He would be baptized by the messenger-prophet beyond Jordan near Bethabara; the prophet would testify of him, and the Holy Ghost would descend on him as a dove

Lehi, Nephi

1 Ne. 10:9–10; 1 Ne. 11:27; 2 Ne. 31:4–8

e. He would suffer temptations, hunger, thirst

Isaiah, King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma

Isa. 53:3; Mosiah 3:7; Mosiah 15:5; Alma 7:11

f. He would call twelve Apostles in the Old World and twelve disciples in the New World

Nephi

1 Ne. 11:29, 34; 1 Ne. 12:8–10

g. He would preach glad tidings

Isaiah

Isa. 61:1

h. He would care for his followers as a shepherd

Isaiah, Ezekiel

Isa. 40:10–11; Ezek. 34:11–31

i. He would be a priest forever (after the order of Melchizedek)

Moses, David, Alma

JST, Gen. 14:25–28; Ps. 110:1–4; Alma 13:7–9

j. He would minister in power and glory, performing miracles

Isaiah, Nephi, Jacob, King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma

Isa. 59:16–19; 1 Ne. 11:28, 31; 2 Ne. 10:4; Mosiah 3:5–6; Mosiah 15:6; Alma 5:50

k. He would come to Zion (Jerusalem)

Isaiah

Isa. 59:20

l. He would come as a king riding on a young ass

Zechariah

Zech. 9:9

m. He would be a stumbling block to his people, who would reject him

David, Isaiah, Nephi, Jacob

Ps. 118:21–22; Isa. 8:13–14; Isa. 53:3; 1 Ne. 19:13; 2 Ne. 10:3–5; 2 Ne. 25:12; Jacob 4:15

n. He would be betrayed by his friends for thirty pieces of silver

David, Zechariah

Ps. 41:9; Zech. 11:12–13; Zech. 13:6

o. Foreshadowings of his life and mission

Adam, Nephi

Moses 6:62–63; 2 Ne. 11:4

Atonement: His Suffering

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

a. Christ would yield himself to suffer

Isaiah, Nephi, Abinadi

Isa. 50:6; Isa. 53:7; 1 Ne. 19:9–10; Mosiah 15:5–6

b. He would be innocent of violence and deceit

Isaiah

Isa. 53:9

c. He would suffer to atone for our sins and help our sicknesses; blood would come from every pore

Isaiah, Jacob, King Benjamin, Alma, Amulek, Aaron

Isa. 53:3–12; 2 Ne. 9:21–22; Mosiah 3:7; Alma 7:11–13; Alma 21:9; Alma 34:8–9

d. He would be judged and placed in prison

Isaiah, Nephi

Isa. 53:8; 1 Ne. 11:32

e. Foreshadowings of his suffering

Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Jacob

Gen. 22:1–14; Lev. 16:7–10; Jacob 4:5

Atonement: His Crucifixion

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

a. Christ would die voluntarily

Isaiah, Lehi, Nephi, Abinadi

Isa. 53:7, 9, 12; 1 Ne. 19:9–10; 2 Ne. 2:6–7; Mosiah 15:5, 7

b. He would be crucified for and by his people

Enoch, Zenock, Neum, Lehi, Nephi, Jacob

Moses 7:47, 55; 1 Ne. 10:11; 1 Ne. 11:32–33; 1 Ne. 19:10; 2 Ne. 6:9; 2 Ne. 10:3–5; 2 Ne. 25:13

c. His hands and feet would be pierced

David, Isaiah, Zechariah

Ps. 22:16; Isa. 22:23–25; Zech. 12:10; Zech. 13:6

d. He would be mocked and suffer pain and thirst

David, Isaiah

Ps. 22:7–8; Isa. 50:6

e. He would be given vinegar to drink

David

Ps. 69:20–21

f. He would speak specific words from the cross

David

Ps. 22:1; Ps. 31:5

g. None of his bones would be broken

David

Ps. 34:19–20

h. Lots would be cast for his garments

David

Ps. 22:18

i. He would be buried in a sepulchre

Zenos, Nephi

1 Ne. 19:10; 2 Ne. 25:13

j. Signs would attend his death (darkness, earthquakes, etc.)

Zenos, Nephi, Samuel the Lamanite

1 Ne. 12:4–6; 1 Ne. 19:10–13; Hel. 14:20–28

k. Clear foreshadowings of his atonement and death

Adam, Eve, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Ezekiel, Nephi, Jacob, Alma, Nephi (son of Helaman)

Moses 5:4–7; Moses 6:63–65; Gen. 22:1–14; Ex. 12; Ex. 16:12–35; Ex. 17:1–7; Ex. 29; Lev. 1–17; Lev. 21–23; Num. 19; Num. 21:5–9; Ezek. 43:18–27; Ezek. 45:18–25; 1 Ne. 17:41; Jacob 4:4–5; Alma 33:18–23; Hel. 8:13–15

Atonement: His Resurrection

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

a. Jesus would rise from death after three days and show himself to witnesses

Lehi, Nephi, King Benjamin

1 Ne. 10:11; 2 Ne. 25:13–14; 2 Ne. 26:1; Mosiah 3:10

b. Others would be resurrected because he overcame death

Enoch, Samuel, Job, David, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Jacob, Abinadi, Alma, Amulek, Samuel the Lamanite

Moses 7:55–56, 62; 1 Sam. 2:6; Job 19:25–27; Ps. 16:9–10; Isa. 25:8; Isa. 26:19; Ezek. 37:12–13; Hosea 13:14; 2 Ne. 2:8; 2 Ne. 9:4–13; Mosiah 13:33–35; Mosiah 15:20–24; Mosiah 16:7–11; Alma 11:42–45; Alma 33:22; Alma 40:2–23; Hel. 14:25

c. Foreshadowings of his resurrection

Jonah

Jonah 1:17; Jonah 2:1–10; see also item k, bottom of page 35

Atonement: Whys and Hows

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

a. Christ’s atonement would be infinite

Nephi, Jacob, Amulek

2 Ne. 9:7; 2 Ne. 25:16; Alma 34:8–14

b. His sacrifice would satisfy the laws of justice and mercy

Jacob, Abinadi, Alma, Amulek

2 Ne. 9:25–26; 2 Ne. 25:16; Mosiah 15:8–9, 26–27; Alma 34:14–18; Alma 42:13–30

c. His atonement would redeem all mankind from physical death, brought by Adam’s fall

Lehi, Jacob, Abinadi, Alma, Amulek

2 Ne. 2:8–9; 2 Ne. 9:4–15; Mosiah 15:7–9, 20–27; Alma 11:39–45; Alma 12:21–25; Alma 40:23; Alma 41:2–15

d. His atonement would make available the forgiveness of sins for all who have faith in him, repent, are baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure; they thus become his sons and daughters and receive joy and eternal life

Adam, Eve, Noah, brother of Jared, Isaiah, Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma, Amulek, Aaron, John the Baptist

Moses 5:8–11; Moses 6:51–68; Moses 8:23–24; Matt. 3:11; Ether 3:14; Isa. 1:16–18; 1 Ne. 10:4–6; 2 Ne. 2:3–29; 2 Ne. 9:10–42; 2 Ne. 31:10–21; Mosiah 3:11–19; Mosiah 4:5–30; Mosiah 5:6–15; Mosiah 15:10–19; Alma 5:6–62; Alma 11:36–43; Alma 12:12–37; Alma 22:14; Alma 34:2–41; Alma 42:2–28

His Visit to the Spirit World

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

The Savior’s atonement would extend into the spirit world, setting the prisoners free

Enoch, Isaiah, Zechariah

Moses 7:57; Isa. 42:6–7; Isa. 61:1; Zech. 9:11

His Visit to a Branch of Joseph

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

Christ would visit a branch of Joseph’s descendants

Joseph, Nephi

JST, Gen. 50:25; 1 Ne. 12:1, 6; 2 Ne. 26:1

His Ascension into Heaven

Prophecy

Person Speaking/Writing

Reference

Jesus would ascend to the Father after his resurrection

Enoch

Moses 7:59

[illustration] Simeon Reverencing the Christ Child, by Greg K. Olsen

[illustrations] Background and inset, top: Details from Mary and the Angel, by Carl Heinrich Bloch, original at the Chapel of Frederiksborg, Denmark; used by permission of the Frederiksborgmuseum

[illustration] John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus, by Greg K. Olsen

[illustrations] Background: Jesus Healing the Blind; Inset, bottom: The Burial of Christ, by Carl Heinrich Bloch, originals at the Chapel of Frederiksborg, Denmark; used by permission of the Frederiksborgmuseum

[illustration] Detail from Christ in Gethsemane, by Harry Anderson

[illustration] Background: The Bible and the Book of Mormon Testify of Christ, by Greg K. Olsen; Inset, top: The Resurrection, by Harry Anderson

[illustration] Detail from The Doubtful Thomas, by Carl Heinrich Bloch, original at the Chapel of Frederiksborg, Denmark; used by permission of the Frederiksborgmuseum

D. Kelly Ogden is an associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University.

R. Val Johnson, assistant managing editor of International Magazines, serves as ward clerk in the Eastridge Third Ward, Draper Utah North Stake.