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Gramps,

When Nephi was praying the night before Christ was born, Christ as a Spirit appeared before Nephi. Was this Christ as a premortal spirit or was it an angel speaking as first person for Christ?

Roger from California

Dear Roger,

Here is the scripture that you refer to in your question.

And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord, all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying: Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son–of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given (3 Nephi 1:12-14).

This was undoubtedly the last appearance of the pre-mortal Savior before he was born of Mary into mortality. I believe that we may have confidence that these were his own words, rather than those of some messenger. We hear in the scriptures, the Angel of the Lord, which terminology usually refers to the Lord, himself. For instance, in Exodus 3?2-4, we read

And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush [was] not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here [am] I (Exodus 3:2-4).

Here, the Angel of the Lord is identified as the Lord and as God, so it is clearly not an angelic messenger representing the Lord.

The scripture in 3 Nephi is even more specific, referring to “the voice of the Lord,” “on the morrow come I into the world,” “and to do the will . . . of the Son because of my flesh.”

Your question implies that perhaps it could not have been the Savior himself because he was about to be born, and so his spirit must have been in the pre-natal child. No information is given in the scriptures on the time that the spirit enters the mortal body. It may not necessarily be the same time for everyone. But beyond that, the Savior without doubt would have the power to appear as a spirit at any time without jeopardizing the mortal life of his being.

Gramps

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