As we have reached the pinnacle point or crown jewel in the Book of Mormon; the account of Jesus Christ coming to " His other sheep " ( John :10:16 ) making one fold and one Shepard; for those individuals whom have a great reverence for these events in Third Nephi, and those with fine tuned hearts and ears; we can see this crowning event as it truly was; we can see what exactly was happening for these " other sheep " as we read this account.
" The ancient temple that Jesus would ascend to would have been used by the first Nephi, six centuries before the birth of Christ; as the model in building this temple shortly after His arrival in the promise land."( Seeing Third Nephi as the Holy of Holies of the Book of Mormon, By :John W. Welch)
We read in 3 Nephi 11:1 that they were gathered round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful."
" Jesus of course could have chosen to appear at some other time, at the city gate, out in an open field or a number of places. But He did not, He came precisely to the temple in Bountiful and for three consecutive days he met them there at or near that Holy place. ( 3 Nephi 11:1, 17:3, 19:3, 26:13 )
Nephite temples were patterned after the temple of Solomon ( 2 Nephi 5:16 ) in layout and in many of their functions, but they were equal in size or splendor. What Jesus taught them in 3 Nephi 11:8 struck the Nephites as a marvelous transformation of their old temple order in to a new one ( 3 Nephi 15:3 )."
( Sermon on the mount in the light of the temple , by John W. Welch )
Hugh Nibley in several articles entitled " Christ among the Ruins " has demonstrated a number of connections between the sermon and the temple; and the forty day literature, In the New Testament. During this time, Jesus addressed most of his teachings in this forty day literature at that time to his apostles and instructed them in their Priesthood duties; he taught them about their premortal existence, the creation of the world, and the purpose of this life; He explained how they could return to the glory of God through obedience to ordinances for the salvation of the living and the dead. He blessed them with an initiation or endowment, generally called the " mysteries " which emphasized garments, marriage and prayer circles. In the New Testament the references in the Sermon to " raiment " and clothe " ( Matthew 6:25 and Matthew 6:28-30 ) had something to do with what Jesus gave the apostles who were instructed to remain in Jerusalem after the Resurrection as he states, " until ye be endured ( ie: endowed or clothed ) , with power from on high , " ( Luke 24:49 ) This view is corroborated by the fact that Joseph Smith taught that Peter and John received the " fulness of the Priesthood or the Law of God " at the Mount of Transfiguration and that Peter " washed and anointed " all the apostles and received " the endowment " on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. ( Andrew F Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, The words of Joseph Smith ( Provo Utah" BYU Religious Studies Center, 1980, 211,246,285, n. 8, 331 ) Sermon on the Mount in the Light of the Temple by John Welch )
With these things in mind take into account these facts about Jesus Christ teaching " His other sheep ", as you read in 3 Nephi :
1. Jesus gave the address to the Nephites at their temple ( 3 Nephi 11:1 )
2. The Sermon was given " in a covenant making context ."
3. The stipulations in the Sermon were " by way of commandment."
4. The purpose of the Sermon was to show the disciple how to be ex-halted at the final judgment.
5. Looking at the sermon in this way dramatically enhances it's meaning
6. The commandments given by the Savior here could hardly be a more succinct preparation for the making of the temple covenants.
( Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and Sermon on the Mount ( Provo: Farms, 1999 )
With our hearts and eyes open we can see how inexpressibly blessed we are to have the added record of the Book of Mormon in our lives, and these same blessings given to the apostles in the New Testament, and to His " other sheep "; are OUR blessings as well as we hold a temple recommend and are worthy to enter into His house regularly. My hope is that : if these things have strengthened your testimony; that you will share them with those you interact with, in this way we can all help strengthen and build His Kingdom that we are so blessed to be a part of. In this way, as I haven taken time to ponder, pray and share about these things; I will be showing Him how much that I am thankful and love Him.
Lastly, I invite you to consider as your read 3 Nephi these words by John Welch, from whom I took a collaboration of his words on this subject:
"These things leave me with a powerful impression; as I know that
Joseph Smith translated this record in 1829,
before he knew—or at least had said anything—
about building temples or began revealing any of
the ordinances of the House of the Lord. Joseph
Smith was inspired by an incessant determination to
rebuild Zion by restoring the ordinances of the temple.
The roots of that prophetic ideal may well have
begun as early as with what he learned or sensed
I find it hard to say enough in
praise of 3 Nephi . . . it is “the inner
sanctum” of the Book of Mormon,
a sacred and infinite template
uniting time and all eternity.
journal of the Book of Mormon and other restoration scripture
from his translation of the Book of Mormon and
especially the translation of 3 Nephi. Soon, those
things would be revealed to Joseph Smith, and likewise to us,
line upon line, through the book of 3 Nephi and in
other divine manifestations.
Today, the temple helps readers to understand
what is going on in 3 Nephi, and at the same time,
3 Nephi can help worshipers to understand the
temple. While one cannot go back in time two
thousand years to experience all that the people of
Nephi saw and heard at their temple in Bountiful,
each time a Latter-day Saint goes to the temple, it
can be an opportunity to relate very closely to those
unspeakably holy days. Joseph Smith said of the
Book of Mormon that a person can “get nearer to
God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other
book.” One of its precepts is clearly the centrality
of the temple. The book of 3 Nephi lays forth a holy
template for how one may dwell forever in the house
of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the
great and eternal High Priest of all man."
(Seeing Third Nephi as the Holy of Holies of the Book
of Mormon By:John W. Welch)