Tidings of comfort and joy
Samuel ends his sermon on the wall--Many Nephites convert, confess, and get baptized--But some throw stones or shoot arrows at Samuel--The
Spirit of the Lord makes it impossible to hit Samuel with stones or arrows--Nephi prophesies that Jesus will be born soon--Some try to capture
Samuel--Samuel jumps off the wall and returns to the land of the Lamanites--Most of the Nephites are wicked and proud and don't believe the
Book of Mormon Christmas prophecies--Angels and wise men appear bearing tidings of comfort and joy--Satan hardens hearts as the first
Version - Chapter 40: Samuel the Lamanite Tells about Jesus Christ
|16:1 And now, it came to pass that there were many who heard the words of Samuel,
the Lamanite, which he spake upon the walls of the city. And as many as believed on his word
went forth and sought
for Nephi; and when they had come forth and found him they confessed unto him their sins and denied not, desiring
that they might be baptized unto the Lord.
(16:1) As believed on his word|
Many were converted by Samuel's sermon on the wall. The new converts confessed their sins to Nephi and were baptized.
|16:2 But as many as there were who did not believe in the words of Samuel were angry with him; and they
cast stones at him upon the wall, and also many shot arrows at him as he stood upon the wall; but the Spirit of the
Lord was with him, insomuch that they could not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows.
(16:2) They could not hit him with their stones.|
But those who didn't believe Samuel's words were angry with him. They threw rocks and shot arrows, but the Spirit of the Lord was with
Samuel, so their stones and arrows couldn't hit him.
|16:3 Now when they saw that they could not hit him, there were many more who did believe on his words,
insomuch that they went away unto Nephi to be baptized. ||
(16:3) When they saw that they could not hit him|
When the people saw that no stones or arrows hit Samuel, many more decided to believe Samuel and went to Nephi to get baptized.
|16:4 For behold, Nephi was baptizing, and prophesying, and preaching, crying repentance unto the people,
showing signs and wonders, working miracles among the people, that they might know that
the Christ must shortly come -- ||
(16:4-5) The Christ must shortly come.|
Nephi was busy baptizing, prophesying, preaching, crying, showing off signs and wonders, and working miracles to convince everyone that "the Christ" would
be born soon. Whoever pre-believed in Jesus's birth got baptized.
|16:5 Telling them of things which must shortly come, that they might know and remember at the time of
their coming that they had been made known unto them beforehand, to the intent that they might believe; therefore
as many as believed on the words of Samuel went forth unto him to be baptized, for they came repenting and
confessing their sins.
|16:6 But the more part of them did not believe in the words of Samuel; therefore when they saw that
they could not hit him with their stones and their arrows, they cried unto their captains, saying: Take this
fellow and bind him, for behold he hath a devil; and because of the power of the devil which is in him we
cannot hit him with our stones and our arrows; therefore take him and bind him, and away with him. ||
(16:6) Behold he hath a devil.|
But still even with all of Nephi's signs and wonders and with the Holy Spirit helping Samuel dodge rocks and arrows, the more part of the Nephites still
didn't believe, thinking Samuel was possessed by the devil. So they told their captains to capture Samuel.
|16:7 And as they went forth to lay their hands on him, behold, he did cast himself down from the wall,
and did flee out of their lands, yea, even unto his own country, and began to preach and to prophesy among his own
(16:7-8) He was never heard of more.|
But just as they were about to catch him, he jumped off the wall and rand back to the land of the Lamanites to preach and prophesy
among them. None of the Nephites ever saw him again.
Although the Book of Mormon doesn't say where Samuel went, some Mormons suspect that he (along
with Nephi the son of Helaman who also mysteriously disappeared) sailed across the Pacific to Asia and became one of the "wise men" mentioned in Helaman 16:14 who came
"from the east" to visit the baby Jesus in Matthew 2:1.
(16:9-12) The lesser part walking more circumspectly
In the next few years (6 - 3 BCE), most of the Nephites were wicked and proud (and got just a little more evil each year), while the
lesser part walked more circumspectly.
|16:8 And behold, he was never heard of more among the Nephites; and thus were the affairs
of the people.
|16:9 And thus ended the eighty and sixth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
|16:10 And thus ended also the eighty and seventh year of the reign of the judges, the more part of the
people remaining in their pride and wickedness, and the lesser part walking more circumspectly before God.
|16:11 And these were the conditions also, in the eighty and eighth year of the reign of the judges. ||
|16:12 And there was but little alteration in the affairs of the people, save it were the people began to
be more hardened in iniquity, and do more and more of that which was contrary to the commandments of God, in the
eighty and ninth year of the reign of the judges. ||
|16:13 But it came to pass in the ninetieth year of the reign of the judges,
there were great signs given unto the people, and wonders; and the words of the prophets began to be fulfilled. ||
(16:13-14) Glad tidings of great joy|
In 2 BCE things really started happening. There were signs and wonders all around and prophecies fulfilled everywhere you looked.
Angels and wise men appeared bearing tidings of great joy. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
|16:14 And angels did appear unto men, wise men, and did declare
unto them glad tidings of great joy;
thus in this year the scriptures began to be fulfilled.
|16:15 Nevertheless, the people began to harden their hearts, all save it were the most believing
part of them, both of the Nephites and also of the Lamanites, and began to depend upon their own strength and
upon their own wisdom, saying: ||
(16:15-21) It is not reasonable.|
And yet all of the Nephites and Lamanites, except for the more believing part, began to scoff at the Book of Mormon Christmas prophecies.
They said it wasn't reasonable that this Christ guy would come. They didn't buy the idea that he was both God the Father and the Son of God. And even if
there is such a person, why would he be born in Jerusalem instead of in America. The whole thing is just a wicked tradition about a
land far away. It's a plot by the Nephite leaders to control the people and keep them in ignorance.
|16:16 Some things they may have guessed right, among so many; but behold, we know that all these
great and marvelous works cannot come to pass, of which has been spoken.
|16:17 And they began to reason and to contend among themselves, saying:
|16:18 That it is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come; if so, and he be the
Son of God, the Father of heaven and of earth, as it has been spoken, why will he not show himself unto us as
well as unto them who shall be at Jerusalem?
|16:19 Yea, why will he not show himself in this land as well as in the land of Jerusalem? ||
|16:20 But behold, we know that this is a wicked tradition, which has been handed down unto us by
our fathers, to cause us that we should believe in some great and marvelous thing which should come to pass,
but not among us, but in a land which is far distant, a land which we know not; therefore they can keep us in
ignorance, for we cannot witness with our own eyes that they are true. ||
|16:21 And they will, by the cunning and the mysterious arts of the evil one, work some great
mystery which we cannot understand, which will keep us down to be servants to their words, and also servants
unto them, for we depend upon them to teach us the word; and thus will they keep us in ignorance if we will
yield ourselves unto them, all the days of our lives. ||
|16:22 And many more things did the people imagine up in their hearts, which were foolish and vain;
and they were much disturbed, for Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about
spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people
against that which was good and against that which should come. ||
(16:22-23) Satan did get great hold upon the hearts.|
But even with all the signs, wonders, and miracles, the people had many more foolish and vain imaginings,
and Satan continued to stir them up to do evil, spread rumors, and cause contentions throughout the land. So they were completely unprepared for
the birth of Jesus, which according to Book of Mormon prophecy was scheduled to occur in the next year or so.
|16:23 And notwithstanding the signs and the wonders which were wrought among the people of the
Lord, and the many miracles which they did, Satan did get great hold upon the hearts of the people upon all
the face of the land.
|16:24 And thus ended the *ninetieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
|16:25 And thus ended the book of Helaman, according to the record of Helaman and his
* 1 BCE according the the LDS Book of Mormon footnote.
And it came to pass (16:1, 13, 17)
Behold (16:4, 6, 7, 8, 16, 20)
(16:14) And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great
joy -- Luke 2:10
(16:10) See then that ye walk circumspectly -- Ephesians 5:15