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“Saving Christianity”: The Nephite Fulfillment of Jesus’s Eschatological Prophecies

Title“Saving Christianity”: The Nephite Fulfillment of Jesus’s Eschatological Prophecies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHardy, Heather
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
Type of ArticleEssay
KeywordsChristianity; Eschatology; Jesus Christ; Mormon; Nephite; New Testament; Prophecy; Resurrection; Witness

Third Nephi testifies to the fulfillment of Jesus’s eschatological prophecies, even though Mormon, the prophet-historian who records the remarkable events, was unaware of the content of Jesus’s mortal teachings. He nevertheless recognizes Christ’s postresurrection visit as both the fulfillment of Nephite prophecy and the reenactment of particular episodes of their sacred history by incorporating numerous scriptural allusions into his account. Mormon’s independent witness in which he recounts a day of divine judgment, the coming of the Lord, and the inauguration of the kingdom of God within the timeframe Jesus had prescribed validates Jesus’s prophecies in Galilee and Judea. Despite the ironic incongruity between what was expected and how it was fulfilled, Mormon’s narrative confirms the New Testament’s proclamation and thus serves to save the credibility of Christianity that has long been challenged by the problem of the delayed parousia—that is, that Jesus’s prophecies of an imminent theocratic kingdom seem to have failed.