The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 225


Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a renowned heart surgeon, wrote:“My lifelong interest in the human heart took an unexpected turn in April 1984, when I was called to leave the operating room of the hospital and enter the upper room of the temple. There I became an ordained Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. I did not k such a call but have humbly tried to be worthy of that trust and privilege of being His representative, now hoping to mend hearts spiritually as I previously did surgically.“As one who has been called, sustained, and ordained—one of 15 special witnesses of our Lord and Master—I follow this vital theme from the Book of Mormon: ‘We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, [and] we prophesy of Christ’ (2 Ne. 25:26)” (“Jesus the Christ: Our Master and More,”Ensign,Apr. 2000, 4).

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles

The following testimony was dated January 1, 2000, and signed by the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

1. “As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

2. “He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. ‘All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made’ (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He ‘went about doing good’ (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to , and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

3. “He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

4. “We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

5. “He rose from the grave to ‘become the firstfruits of them that slept’ (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among his ‘other sheep’ (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised ‘dispensation of the fulness of times’ (Ephesians 1:10).

6. “Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: ‘His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

7. “‘I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father’ (D&C 110:3–4).

8. “Of Him the Prophet also declared: ‘And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

9. “‘For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

10. “‘That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God’ (D&C 76:22–24).

11. “We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—‘built upon the foundation of … apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone’ (Ephesians 2:20).

12. “We testify that He will someday return to earth. ‘And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall it together’ (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

13. “We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son” (Ensign,Apr. 2000, 2–3).

Understanding the Reading

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles

Commemorate(par. 1)Remember, celebrate 
Millennia(par. 1)Thousand years 
Profound(par. 1)Deep 
Despised(par. 2)Hated 
Entreated(par. 2)Invited, urged 
Instituted(par. 3)Established, began 
Spurious(par. 3)False 
Vicarious gift(par. 3)The price Jesus Christ paid in suffering for sin so we would not have to 
Solemnly(par. 4)Seriously and sincerely 
Firstfruits of them that slept(par. 5)First to be resurrected 
Ushering in(par. 5)Beginning, introducing 
Countenance(par. 6)Appearance (especially the face) 
Your advocate(par. 7)The one who speaks on your behalf 
Bearing record(par. 9)Testifying 
Begotten(par. 10)Spiritually born again 
Flesh(par. 12)People 
Duly(par. 13)Appropriately, officially 

Paragraphs 4, 9—The “Only Begotten” Son

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught: “When Jesus was born into mortality, his parents were God the Eternal Father (1 Nephi 11:21) and Mary, whom Nephi saw in a heavenly vision. … He is God’s Only Begotten Son, the only one who ever has or ever will be born on earth of such parentage. Because of his mortal nature, inherited from his mother, he had ‘the power of mortality, which is the power to die, … to separate body and spirit’ [Bruce R. McConkie,The Promised Messiah,471]. Because of his divine nature, inherited from his Father, he had ‘the power of immortality, which is the power to live forever; or, having chosen to die, … to rise again in immortality’ [Promised Messiah,471]” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 5; orEnsign,Nov. 1993, 6).

Paragraph 5—What Is the “Dispensation of the Fulness of Times”?

the “Understanding the Reading” section for paragraph 13 in “The Teachings and Testimony of Joseph Fielding Smith” (p. 204).

Studying the Reading

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles.”

Activity A iconNames and Titles

  1. 1.

    Review “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles” and list at least 10 names or titles the Apostles used for Jesus Christ.

  2. 2.

    After each name and title in your list, write a brief explanation of what each one teaches you about the Savior.

  3. 3.

    Choose one title and explain why it is important to you.

Activity B iconWhat Is the Mission of an Apostle?

  1. 1.

    ReadDoctrine and Covenants 107:23and complete the following sentence in your notebook: “An Apostle is …”

  2. 2.

    Review paragraphs 1, 4, 11–13 of “The Living Christ.” List the phrases the Apostles used that show they are fulfilling their responsibility referred to inDoctrine and Covenants 107:23.

Activity C iconThe Living Christ

  1. 1.

    Write your own testimony of the living Christ.

  2. 2.

    Write a brief paragraph that explains how you came to know that Jesus is the living Christ.