Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Those Persecuted for Christ’s Sake: KJV versus 3 Nephi

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you,
and persecute you,
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely,
for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:
for great is your reward in heaven:
for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
(Matt. 5:11-12)
3 Nephi:
11 And blessed are ye when men shall revile you
and persecute,
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely,
for my sake;
12 For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad,
for great shall be your reward in heaven;
for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.
(3 Nephi 12:11-12)
In this block of verses, Jesus commends those who are persecuted for Christ’s sake.  3 Nephi 12 speaks of the reward of joy as something reserved for the future, unlike Matthew, which seems to command those persecuted to be glad in the middle of the pain they undergo.  To me, 3 Nephi seems more realistic; persecution is not fun to go through.  Joy tends to come after long spaces when we can look back and begin to understand and feel satisfied with how we made it through, rather than being pained and fearing a repetition.

Some might argue that the KJV’s language bringing the reward in heaven into the present tense is more powerful, but the reward isn’t just because you are persecuted for Christ’s sake.  It’s for staying faithful to the end, and you have to get to the end to see whether a reward is merited or not.


Ramona Gordy said...

Good food for thought Michaela

In my BOM study group, we were discussing these verses. We thought that these verses demonstrated a pattern of teaching, first as taught by prophets and then culminating in the Savior's teaching. We felt that there was a progression of sorts in these verses; for instance in Matt, the Savior is speaking primarily to a dedicated group of followers and disciples concerning events that would come to pass after his resurrection and ascension. We found some "Zion building" references, but it also seems that these are words of warning and prophecy for the near future of those saints as well as future rewards.
In 3 Nephi, the Zion building pattern is more obvious and an assurance than a possibility. We came to this conclusion based on the statement Jesus made concerning the people of Nephi in Nephi 3 19:35...So great faith have I never seen among all of the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles because of their unbelief.

So we referenced the law of believing; D&C 130:21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

It was a lively discussion, thank you for these thought provoking posts.

Michaela Stephens said...

Yes, I think you're right about the Zion-building.. although it seems like the Beattitudes in general point out the way to a Christ-like life.