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|Title||KnoWhy #552 - How Does the Doctrine of Christ Relate to the Ancient Temple? (2 Nephi 32:4-6)|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Corporate Authors||Book of Mormon Central Staff|
|Publisher||Book of Mormon Central|
|Place Published||Springville, UT|
|Keywords||Doctrine of Christ; King Benjamin; Symbolism; Temple Worship; Tongue of Angels|
One method Nephite prophets repeatedly used to clearly teach the people about Christ was to draw on the symbolism and ritual of Israelite temple worship. The clearest example of this is King Benjamin’s speech, where he gathered the people to the temple and taught them about the atoning blood of Christ, likely in connection with the rituals of the Day of Atonement and other Israelite autumn festivals. Jacob, Nephi’s younger brother, likewise taught about the plan of salvation at the newly built temple during what was likely one of the autumn festivals.
According to Shon D. Hopkin, professor of ancient scripture at BYU, Nephi did the same thing in 2 Nephi 31–32. Hopkin argued that Nephi’s presentation of the doctrine of Christ relied “upon imagery of the high priest’s divine ascent” performed on the Day of Atonement, when the priest went “from the east end of the Temple (at the altar of sacrifice) to its west end (in the holy of holies).” By using this high priestly ascent as the model for explaining the doctrine of Christ, Nephi wanted all mankind to understand that, thanks to Jesus Christ, everyone—and not just the high priest—could choose to follow Christ and the sacred path leading back into the presence of God.
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