Part 9: Helaman 8 – Helaman 16
The introduction to this series on internal consistency in the Book of Mormon is found in part 1 here.
This part covers the rest of the Book of Helaman. With respect to internal consistency, the prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite are particularly impressive. The fulfillment of several of his prophecies are recorded in great detail later, just as they were foretold.
69. Helaman 8:22 and 1 Nephi 1:19-20, 2 Nephi 25:12 — “they have testified of the coming of Christ”
In Helaman 8, Nephi gives a bold speech about how prophets down through the ages have “spoken concerning the coming of the Messiah.” In the process, he says:
22 Our father Lehi was driven out of Jerusalem because he testified of these things (a). Nephi also testified of these things (b), and also almost all of our fathers, even down to this time; yea, they have testified of the coming of Christ, and have looked forward, and have rejoiced in his day which is to come.
This is consistent with details which had yet to be dictated:
19 And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.
20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. (1 Nephi 1, a)
Nephi testifies of the coming of the Messiah multiple times, including:
12 But, behold, they shall have wars, and rumors of wars; and when the day cometh that the Only Begotten of the Father, yea, even the Father of heaven and of earth, shall manifest himself unto them in the flesh, behold, they will reject him, because of their iniquities, and the hardness of their hearts, and the stiffness of their necks. (2 Nephi 25, b)
70. Helaman 13:13-14 and 3 Nephi 9:3 — The fate of Zarahemla
Samuel the Lamanite makes many prophecies. Their fulfillment is described, often in great detail. Helaman 13:13-14 is only one of many examples
But behold, if it were not for the righteous who are in this great city [Zarahemla], behold, I would cause that fire should come down out of heaven and destroy it. But behold, it is for the righteous’ sake that it is spared. But behold, the time cometh, saith the Lord, that when ye shall cast out the righteous from among you, then shall ye be ripe for destruction
Even though various cities suffer different fates at the sign of Christ’s death, Zarahemla is burned in 3 Nephi 9:3, just like the prophecy says.
Behold, that great city Zarahemla have I burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof
71. Helaman 13:31-32 and Mormon 2:10-11 — Slippery treasures
A peculiar prophecy by Samuel is given in Helaman 13:31-32
And behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches, that they become slippery, that ye cannot hold them; and in the days of your poverty ye cannot retain them. And in the days of your poverty ye shall cry unto the Lord
The fulfillment is described 36 chapters later, in Mormon 2:10-11:
10 And it came to pass that the Nephites began to repent of their iniquity, and began to cry even as had been prophesied by Samuel the prophet; for behold no man could keep that which was his own, for the thieves, and the robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which was in the land.
11 Thus there began to be a mourning and a lamentation in all the land because of these things, and more especially among the people of Nephi
72. Helaman 13:32-33 and 3 Nephi 8:25 — “then shall ye lament”
Notice how Mormon uses the same wording when describing this prophecy by Samuel the Lamanite and its fulfillment. First the prophecy in Helaman 13:32-33
And then shall ye lament, and say: O that I had repented, and had not killed the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out.
Then the fulfillment in 3 Nephi 8:25
And in another place they were heard to cry and mourn, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and had not killed and stoned the prophets, and cast them out.
73. Helaman 14:2 and 3 Nephi 1:4-5,12-13 — The time of Christ’s birth
We have seen several examples already of the complex but consistent timeline in the Book of Mormon. Here is another. In Helaman 14:2, Samuel the Lamanite says:
And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.
This one is a bit complicated. We need to go back to Helaman 13:1, just before Samuel started prophesying
And now it came to pass in the eighty and sixth year
So we should expect the sign of Christ’s birth no sooner than the 91st year. Now we see what happened in 3 Nephi 1:4-5
4 And it came to pass that in the commencement of the ninety and second year, behold, the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people.
5 But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite.
Then, right after, in 3 Nephi 1:12-13
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
One can imagine it would be very easy to get lost in this time-keeping without notes or manuscript.
74. Helaman 14:4-5,7 and 3 Nephi 1:15-16,19-21 — The signs of Christ’s birth
In Helaman 14:4-5,7, Samuel the Lamanite gave the people in Zarahemla the sign of Christ’s birth.
4 Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.
5 And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.
7 And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth.
The fulfillment is described in 3 Nephi 1:15-16,19-21
15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
16 And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead
19 And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.
20 And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.
21 And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.
Notice the subtle consistency between the “night before he is born” and “the day that the Lord should be born” (marked with cyan).
75. Helaman 14:12, Helaman 16:18 and Mosiah 3:8 — Samuel quoting King Benjamin
Helaman 14:12 contains word for word quote of King Benjamin
And also that ye might know of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and of earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning
Compare with Mosiah 3:8
And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning
This term is noticed by the listeners, although not all believed in the coming of Christ. In Helaman 16:18, they say:
it is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come; if so, and he be the Son of God, the Father of heaven and of earth, as it has been spoken…
76. Helaman 14:20-24 and 3 Nephi 8:13-14 — The signs of Christ’s death
In item 74, we saw the consistency between the prophecy of the signs given of Christ’s birth and their fulfillment. In Helaman 14:20-24 signs of Christ’s death are given.
20 But behold, as I said unto you concerning another sign, a sign of his death, behold, in that day that he shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead.
21 Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up;
22 Yea, they shall be rent in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks, and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea, both above the earth and beneath.
23 And behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great.
24 And many highways shall be broken up, and many cities shall become desolate.
We see the level of detail by comparing the colored parts in the prophecy and the fulfillment in 3 Nephi 8:12-13, 19-23
12 But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth;
13 And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.
18 And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land.
19 And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours—and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land.
20 And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness;
21 And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all;
22 And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.
23 And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen
Take another look at the texts marked with green. Do you see all the repeated expressions? “Rent in twain”, “broken up”, “broken fragments”, “seams and in cracks”. It seems pretty obvious that the author of 3 Nephi 8 had the text from Helaman 14 available when writing this.
End of Part 9
As we finish up part nine, let’s take a look at our updated arc diagram. Keep in mind that each arc represents an internally consistent reference.
Jeff Markham has been an avid student of the Book of Mormon his entire life. He recently joined the FairMormon group. He has practiced radiology in the Dallas, Texas area since 2011, having obtained his undergraduate education at Brigham Young University (B.S. in 2000), a medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA (M.D. 2005), and post-graduate training in diagnostic radiology and neuroradiology at University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, TX. He served as a full-time missionary in the Germany Hamburg Mission from 1996-1998. His favorite callings include teaching primary and early morning seminary. He lives in the Dallas area with his wife and children. He blogs at BookofMormonNotes.com.