3 Nephi 20-22: Prophecies about the Children of the Covenant

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 171–172

In 3 Nephi 20–22 are prophecies about the house of Israel and the Gentiles and how the Lord will fulfill the covenants He has made with His children. Descendants of those with whom the Lord has made covenants are called the “children of the covenant” and are entitled to certain blessings associated with those covenants if they are faithful. Ultimately, however, the covenant of the Lord is that all of the children of Heavenly Father will have the opportunity to become a part of the covenant family and receive salvation and exaltation. The teachings in these three chapters are a testimony from Jesus Christ Himself that He will, in time, fulfill every part of this great covenant for both the house of Israel and the Gentiles—in other words, for the entire family of God.

Understanding the Scriptures

3 Nephi 20

Remnant (vv. 10, 13, 16)Remaining part
Inheritance (vv. 14, 29, 33, 46)Possession (usually it refers to something passed on from a parent or other ancestor)
Treadeth down (v. 16)Walks on
Sheaves (v. 18)Stalks of grain bundled together
The floor (v. 18)Threshing floor
I will make thy horn iron and thy hoofs brass (v. 19)I will make you very strong in the last days
Consecrate their gain (v. 19)Make their wealth sacred by dedicating it
Kindreds (vv. 25, 27)Families
Scourge (v. 28)A whip (symbolic of trials and trouble)
Made bare his holy arm (v. 35)Shown His power
Uncircumcised (v. 36)Those who have not made covenants with the Lord
Naught (v. 38)Nothing of value
Bear the vessels of the Lord (v. 41)Do the Lord’s work, carry that which is sacred
Rearward (v. 42)Protection
Extolled (v. 43)Praised
Visage (v. 44)Appearance, image
Marred (v. 44)Damaged, spoiled, blemished

3 Nephi 21

Dispersion, dispersed (vv. 1, 26–27)Scattering, scattered
Wrought (v. 5)Done
Behooveth (v. 6)Becomes necessary for
Soothsayers (v. 16)People who claim to tell the future or work other miracles but are not from God
Groves (v. 18)Places where people worshipped idols in Old Testament times
Priestcrafts (v. 19)Preaching for money and praise (see 2 Nephi 26:29)
Vengeance (v. 21)Fierce justice, punishment

3 Nephi 21:6—Gentiles Become Numbered with the House of Israel

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “Every person who embraces the gospel becomes of the house of Israel. In other words, they become members of the chosen lineage, or Abraham’s children through Isaac and Jacob unto whom the promises were made” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:246; see also 2 Nephi 30:1–2).

3 Nephi 21:22–25 (see also 3 Nephi 20:22)—The New Jerusalem

The city of New Jerusalem will be built in Jackson County, Missouri, and will be called the city of Zion (see D&C 45:64–68; 57:1–3; Moses 7:62).

3 Nephi 22

Barren (v. 1)A woman who has no children
Travail (v. 1)The labor pains of giving birth
Desolate (vv. 1, 3)Lonely, left alone, empty, abandoned
Reproach (v. 4)Shame and disgrace of previous sins
Sapphires, agates, carbuncles (vv. 11–12)Valuable gems and stones
Smith (v. 16)Blacksmith (one who shapes metal into useable objects)

3 Nephi 22:2—Curtains, Cords, and Stakes

Isaiah compared the house of Israel to a tent. The longer the cords and curtains and the stronger the stakes, the bigger the tent can be.

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–D) as you study 3 Nephi 20–22.

Activity A iconThe Gathering of Israel

The gathering of Israel is not just for other people in other places; it involves us and our day. Study 3 Nephi 20:13, 18–19, 29–33; 21:1, 20–28; 22:13–14, 17, and list what the Lord said about why He would gather Israel and what would happen when He did.

Activity B iconBlessings from the Lord

  1. 1.

    According to 3 Nephi 20:25–26, what is one of the ways the Lord has blessed, and continues to bless, the “children of the covenant”?

  2. 2.

    According to 3 Nephi 20:27, in what ways has the Lord blessed the gentile nations?

  3. 3.

    How have these two blessings helped you in your life? (See the introduction to 3 Nephi 20–22 and the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for help, if needed.)

Activity C iconA Message for the Gentile Nations

  1. 1.

    In your own words, explain what the Lord said in 3 Nephi 21:14–21 about what will happen if the gentile nations do not repent? Use some modern examples of what was said.

  2. 2.

    What did the Lord say in 3 Nephi 21:22–25 about Gentiles who do repent and are gathered to the New Jerusalem?

Activity D iconLiken the Words of Isaiah

In 3 Nephi 22, the Savior quoted Isaiah 54, which is a poetic testimony of the Lord’s love for His people as He fulfills His covenant to gather them together and into the presence of God.

  1. 1.

    Throughout the scriptures, the Lord has often compared His covenant relationship with His Church to a marriage relationship. He is the Husband, and the Church is the wife. Consider some qualities of the Lord’s being a good husband to His Church, such as being a righteous example and providing love, material needs, comfort, and protection for His family. For each of these responsibilities, find at least one phrase from 3 Nephi 22 that shows how the Lord is the perfect “husband” to the Church.

  2. 2.

    How might the message of 3 Nephi 22 comfort a new convert? How might we use what the Lord said in 3 Nephi 22 to help us care for new converts?