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Question

 

Gramps,

Why did the Nephites know the name of Jesus Christ in the new world of the America’s before Christ was ever born, when Jesus Christ by name was not once mentioned in prophecy or any other form in the Old Testament? Why would God not prophecy of Jesus Christ by name to the countless prophets through out the Old Testament and choose to only prophecy that name to the Nephites? In fact no one knew that the Messiah’s name would be “Jesus Christ” until the angel came down and gave that specific instruction to Joseph. Can you shed some light on this?

Bryce

 

Answer

 

Dear Bryce,

Christ’s association with the people of the Old Testament was different than with the Nephites in the New World. Jehovah first represented himself to the ancestors of the Jews as God the Father—

And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:

 

And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them (Ex 6:2-3).

Later, in Zech 12:8-10, Jehovah identified Himself as the Savior and Redeemer, although not by name. Let us here interpose that when the word LORD (all capitals) is used in the Old Testament, it is the English translation of the word, JEHOVAH—

In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.

 

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

 

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

However, in 2 Ne 25:19, Nephi relates that an angel of God revealed to him that when the Savior would appear in mortality, he would be called by the name of Jesus Christ—

For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Your question is, why would God do such a thing? I can only suggest that the House of Israel in the Old World had given to them the name of Jehovah from the beginning as the Messiah. The Nephites also knew of the name, Jehovah. But it is mentioned only twice in the Book of Mormon–once by Nephi, the first author in the book, and once by Moroni, the last author.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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