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3 Nephi 29


Covenant Obedience Brings Peace -

 3 Nephi 11 -- Mormon 7      Disobedience Brings Destruction


3 Nephi 29:5-7 Wo . . . Wo . . . Wo . . . Wo . . .:


     According to John Welch, the book of Third Nephi ends, as many covenant texts do in the ancient Near East, with a series of warnings and admonitions. Having entered into a covenant, people need to be reminded of the seriousness of what they have done. At the end of King Benjamin's covenant ceremony (Mosiah 6) the first order of business was to appoint priests to remind people of the covenant that they had entered into, to recall to their memory the seriousness of the commitments that they had made. So again as you see in many ancient Near Eastern covenant or treaty documents, it's appropriate to end with a number of wo's--"Wo unto him that spurneth at the doings of the Lord" (3 Nephi 29:5) . . . "Wo unto him that shall deny the Christ and his works" (3 Nephi 29:5) . . . wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord" (3 Nephi 29:6) . . . "wo unto him that shall say at that day, to get gain, that there can be no miracle wrought by Jesus Christ" (3 Nephi 29:7). [John W. Welch, "Understanding the Sermon at the Temple, Zion Society," in Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 4, p. 157]


3 Nephi 29:6 Worketh by Revelation, or by Prophecy, or . . . or . . . or . . . or:


     Hugh Pinnock writes that whenever many disjunctives, such as either/or and neither/nor, are located at the beginning of successive phrases, sentences, or series of words is called a paradiastole. Paradiastole is a form which characterizes ancient Hebrew writing. Pinnock cites H. Clay Gorton, who finds that the conjunction "or" seems to have four applications, each of which is used extensively in the Book of Mormon.55 These four are as follows:

        1. To identify opposites: "they are free to choose liberty and eternal life . . . or to choose captivity and death" (2 Nephi 2:27).

        2. To identify equivalents: "Favored above every other nation, kindred, tongue, or people" (Alma 9:20). This is the most frequent application in the Book of Mormon.

        3. To restate: "I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision" (1 Nephi 8:2).

        4. To aid in correcting a statement: "thus we see that they buried their weapons of peace, or they buried their weapons of war, for peace" (Alma 24:19). In this form, the author makes a statement and then restates the idea using similar words because he is correcting or clarifying his original thoughts.


     Joseph Smith, as he translated literally the Book of Mormon, included these Hebrew writing forms because the plates were inscribed by ancient prophets who utilized this style of communicating in their writings. He knew nothing explicit of these forms, however, in 3 Nephi 29:6 we find a clear example:

     worketh by revelation,

     or by prophecy,

     or by gifts,

     or by tongues,

     or by healings,

     or by the power of the Holy Ghost!


     Additional examples of paradiastole include Exodus 22:10; Leviticus 13:48-49, 52-53, 56-59; 21:14, 18-20; Deuteronomy 5:21; 12:17; 18:10-11; 1 Samuel 30:19; Ecclesiastes 9:10-11; Jeremiah 16:5-7; Matthew 10:9-10; Romans 8:38-39; 1 Corinthians 3:22; 5:10-11; 6:9; Colossians 2:16; 2 Nephi 2:11, 13; Mosiah 2:12-13; Alma 1:30; 7:20; 23:1-2; 3 Nephi 17:7; 4 Nephi 1:16-17; Moroni 6:9. [Hugh W. Pinnock, Finding Biblical Hebrew and Other Ancient Literary Forms in the Book of Mormon, FARMS, 1999, pp. 27-30]