3 Nephi 15-16: The Law of Moses and "Other Sheep"

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 167–168

Until the visit of Jesus Christ, the righteous children of Israel living in the Americas lived the law of Moses. In 3 Nephi 15, Jesus taught the people that the law of Moses had been fulfilled in Him. In chapters 15–16, Jesus explained that His visiting them was a fulfillment of a prophecy He had made in mortality (see John 10:16). His explanation included additional prophecies about the house of Israel.
Christ with sheep

Understanding the Scriptures

3 Nephi 15

Cast his eyes round about (v. 1)Looked around
Perceived (v. 2)Knew without anyone saying anything
Fold (vv. 17, 21)Organized flock
Manifest (v. 23)Make known

3 Nephi 15:2–7—The Fulfillment of the Law of Moses

When Jesus declared that the law of Moses was “fulfilled” and “hath an end,” He was not indicating that the principles and doctrines had ended, but rather that the ceremonies and sacrifices that pointed to His Atonement were ended (see Alma 34:13–14). You have already learned how some of the principles of the law given to Moses were actually expanded in the law of the gospel (see 3 Nephi 12:21–48; see also 3 Nephi 24; 25; D&C 59:5–14). In other words, the way the gospel was practiced under the law of Moses came to an end, but not the basic commandments, principles, and doctrines of the gospel, which exist forever.

3 Nephi 16

Notwithstanding (v. 8)Even though
Smitten, and … afflicted (v. 9)Hurt and troubled by others
A hiss and a byword (v. 9)Spoken about in evil ways
Deceits (v. 10)Dishonest practices
Mischiefs (v. 10)Wickedness
Priestcrafts (v. 10)Preaching for money and the praise of others (see 2 Nephi 26:29)
Whoredoms (v. 10)Immoral sexual behavior
Watchmen (v. 18)In ancient times watchmen stood on a tower watching for enemies or messengers (in this case they would be looking for the good news that Zion had been established).
Made bare his holy arm (v. 20)Shown His power

3 Nephi 16:4–15—The Gentiles

The word gentiles means “nations.” It refers to those not of the house of Israel or who do not believe in the God of Israel. As the term is used in the Book of Mormon, it also refers to those who come from gentile nations, which are all the nations outside the land of Israel, even if they are descendants of Israel by blood (see 1 Nephi 13:13–19; see also Bible Dictionary, “Gentile,” p. 679).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–D) as you study 3 Nephi 15–16.

Activity A iconWhat about the Law of Moses?

  1. 1.

    Read Mosiah 13:27–30 and Alma 25:15–16 and the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for 3 Nephi 15:2–7 and summarize what they teach about the law of Moses.

  2. 2.

    Summarize what Jesus said about the law of Moses in 3 Nephi 15:2–10.

  3. 3.

    Explain what you think Jesus meant in the first sentence of 3 Nephi 15:9.

Activity B iconBe a Missionary

Suppose someone who is not a member of the Church asks you what John 10:16 means.

  1. 1.

    Using what you learn from 3 Nephi 15–16, write what you would say to that person.

  2. 2.

    What would you say if you were asked, “How can I know that what the Book of Mormon says is true?”

Activity C iconWhat Is the Lesson?

  1. 1.

    According to 3 Nephi 15:11–16:5, why didn’t Jesus’s disciples in Jerusalem know who the “other sheep” were?

  2. 2.

    What did the Lord command to ensure that this knowledge would not be lost?

  3. 3.

    Suggest two lessons we can learn from this incident.

Activity D iconProphecies to Be Fulfilled

When the Book of Mormon speaks of Gentiles it is referring to anyone who is not of the house of Israel or who is not from the land of Israel. Even though most members of the Church today are members of the house of Israel by lineage, to the Book of Mormon people we would be considered Gentiles.

  1. 1.

    What did the Lord promise to offer the Gentiles (us) in 3 Nephi 16:1–7? Has this prophecy been fulfilled? If so, in what ways?

  2. 2.

    What did He say would happen if the Gentiles accepted the offer and what would happen if they refused? (see vv. 8–15). What evidence do you see of any of this happening today?

  3. 3.

    What did the Lord promise the descendants of Lehi? (see v. 16).