3 Ne 29:1 ye may know that the covenant...is already beginning to be fulfilled
The great sign that the last days have arrived is the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. This has been a recurrent theme from 1 Nephi to Mormon's concluding remarks about 3 Nephi. The reason this sign is so important is that the promises which the Lord has given the House of Israel are so important. After two millennia of being scattered, smitten, abused, and ridiculed, the house of Israel finally has something to look forward to. Every prophecy of Isaiah which speaks of the redemption of Israel will come to pass, for with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee (Isa 54:8).
'As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:
And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand...
And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face...
I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:
And I will purge out from among you the rebels...
For in mine holy mountain...there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them...
I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.
And ye shall know that I am the Lord.' (Ezek 20:33-42)
"We often teach the gospel without mentioning the covenant of Abraham or the house of Israel, as though these covenants did not even exist. In the Book of Mormon, Jesus teaches us that the ancient covenants are as valid today as they were 4,000 years ago. I believe that they have something to do with the political events occurring in the world and also with our children and grandchildren traveling to various places of the earth, among war and revolution, to tell of the restoration of the gospel and of the Book of Mormon. These events are occurring before our very eyes. According to Jesus' own words, the covenants of Abraham Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are still important to the Father and to Jesus and should also be important to us." (Robert J. Matthews, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, 3 Nephi 9-30, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 38)
3 Ne 29:2 ye need not say that the Lord delays his coming
With the exception of Paul, Christ's early apostles seemed to think that the Second Coming was to be in their day, or shortly thereafter. When Moroni first visited Joseph Smith, he recited Bible scriptures about the last days and the Second Coming and then said that these things were soon to be (JS-Hist 39:36-41). Accordingly, Joseph wondered if the Second Coming would occur during his lifetime. After praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, he was given an evasive answer by the Lord. (DC 130:14-17)
If the early apostles thought his coming might be in their day and it wasn't, and Joseph Smith thought that his coming might be in his day and it wasn't, are we to conclude that the Lord will not come in our day, either? The scripture answers this question for us, saying ye need not say that the Lord delays his coming. If his coming was close in the days of Joseph Smith, how much closer is it now?
A careful review of the signs of the times demonstrates that things are close. In Mormon Doctrine (pp. 715-734), Elder McConkie lists 51 signs of the times. By interpretation, 39 of these signs have already been fulfilled, 8 of them must yet be fulfilled prior to the Second Coming, and 4 of them are fulfilled at his coming and not before. Furthermore, these 8 unfulfilled signs could easily be fulfilled in the matter of just a few years.
'Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors' (Matt 24:32-33).
"The world may say that he delays his coming until the end of the earth. But they know neither the thoughts nor the ways of the Lord. The Lord will not delay his coming because of their unbelief, and the signs both in heaven and earth indicate that it is near. The fig trees are leafing in sight of all the nations of the earth, and if they had the Spirit of God they could see and understand them." (Journal of Discourses, 16:35)
Henry B. Eyring
"The Lord knew we would be tempted to procrastinate the most important preparation we could ever make in this life. More than once He warned us about delay. He taught the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom did not fill their lamps for the coming of the bridegroom. He also gave the parable of the servants who were faithless because they believed their Lord would delay His coming. The results of delay were tragic...
"The temptation to delay repentance comes not only at the end of the world as suggested by those scriptures. That temptation seems to have been nearly constant since the beginning of time and goes on throughout our lives. In youth we may have thought: 'There will be time enough to worry about spiritual things just before my mission or before marriage. Spiritual things are for older people.' Then, in the early years of marriage, the pressures of life, of jobs, of bills, of finding a moment for rest and recreation seem to crowd us so closely that delay in meeting obligations to God and family again seems reasonable. It is easy to think, 'Perhaps there will be more time for that in the middle years.' But the compression of time does not ease in the years that follow. There is so much to do, and time seems to shrink.
"...Finally, we are personally accountable because the Lord has given us ample warning...Even the acceptance of personal responsibility may not overcome the temptation to believe that now is not the time to repent. 'Now' can seem so difficult, and 'later' appear so much easier. The truth is that today is always a better day to repent than any tomorrow...The very faith we need to repent is weakened by delay." (Conference Report, Nov. 1999 Ensign, "Do Not Delay")
3 Ne 29:5 wo unto him that shall deny the Christ
Denying Christ is a dangerous thing to do. When coupled with denial of the Holy Ghost, it qualifies one to become a son of Perdition, For they are vessels of wrath...Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame (DC 76:35). This is according to the word of the Lord, whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my father which is in heaven (Matt 10:33).
3 Ne 29:7 wo unto him that shall say at that day, to get gain, that there can be no miracle wrought by Jesus Christ
Bruce R. McConkie
"One of the great identifying characteristics of apostate churches is their denial of miracles. 'They deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.' (2 Ne. 28:5-6.) The coming forth of the Book of Mormon was reserved for 'a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away.' (Morm. 8:26.)
"But the judgments of God shall rest upon all those who deny his power. (quotes 3 Ne. 29:6-7.)
"'Do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles. . . .
"'And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles. And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.' (Morm. 9:9-20.)
"'Has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief and all is vain.' (Moro. 7:28-38.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p. 507-8)
3 Ne 29:8 ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews
If there is one group of people which should no longer be tampered with, it is the Jews. The Lord will not allow them to be a hiss and a byword any longer. Rather, now is the time when the covenants regarding them will be fulfilled, for all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision (Isa 29:7).
Elder Ray L. Pratt
"How many are there of us who are entirely guiltless of the things that the Lord has told in this chapter (3 Nephi29) that we should not do? How many of us are entirely guiltless of looking down upon the Jews and upon certain branches of the House of Israel, and how many of us are there that do not believe implicitly in our hearts that the Lord is going to fulfill these mighty and, as they look to us, almost impossible promises unto those people?
"I testify to you, my brethren and sisters, that this word is true, and this book brought forth by the instrumentality of Joseph Smith, is a revelation of God unto the world." (Conference Report, Apr. 1915, p. 24-5)
3 Ne 29:9 ye need not suppose...that he may not execute judgment unto the fulfilling of the covenant
Russell M. Nelson
"The heading to chapter 29 of Third Nephi states: 'The coming forth of the Book of Mormon is a sign that the Lord has commenced to gather Israel and fulfill his covenants.'
"News media have carried stories occasionally of incidents pertaining to the early history of the Church and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. What these news accounts fail to report is that the Book of Mormon has come forth in fulfillment of prophecy, ancient and modern, and that it was translated by the gift and power of God, then pronounced as the most nearly correct book on the face of the earth. Reporters may also fail to note that it is a sign of the covenant of God to the world that the last days are forthcoming. We will be accountable not to news reports, but to this scripture: 'Ye need not suppose that ye can turn the right hand of the Lord unto the left, that he may not execute judgment unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the house of Israel.' (3 Nephi 29:9.)" (The Power Within Us, p. 140)