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What Jesus Christ’s Visit to the Americas Means for Us

By Mormon.org

Jesus spent His mortal life near Jerusalem, teaching the Jews of His gospel. However, Jesus also taught people of Jewish descent in another land: the American continents. That visit was life-changing for them then. Knowing about it can be equally meaningful to you today.

“Other Sheep I Have”

During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ frequently used parables to teach His gospel to His followers. One of the most well-known parables Christ used is recounted in John 10: “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. . . . I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (verses 7, 9).

In this parable, Jesus declares that He is the way to eternal life, to living with Heavenly Father after this life. A few verses later, though, the parable becomes more profound: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (verse 16).

Who were the other sheep Christ spoke of in that parable? Some of those were the people whose history is recounted in the Book of Mormon. 

Bible and Book of Mormon Prophets Foretold Jesus’s Birth

The Book of Mormon is a book of scripture that details God’s teachings to people who lived in the Americas from about 600 BC to AD 400. The Book of Mormon serves as a companion to the Bible’s teachings. An example of that companionship is found in both the foretelling of Christ’s birth and in Christ’s visit to the Americas.

In the opening pages of the Book of Mormon, a prophet named Nephi recounts the teachings of his father, Lehi, regarding the birth of Christ: “Yea, even six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews—even a Messiah, or, in other words, a Savior of the world” (1 Nephi 10:4).

Nearly 600 years before Christ’s birth, prophets in the Americas preached of the certainty of the Savior’s birth, just as prophets in the Bible did: “But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

From the Old Testament account of Micah’s words to the Book of Mormon account of Nephi’s words, prophets in both Israel and the Americas foretold Christ’s birth many years before it occurred. By having both the Book of Mormon and the Bible, you start to see connections between the two volumes of scripture and start to recognize how one reinforces the teachings and validity of the other. 

What Jesus Christ in the Americas Means for You

Christ’s appearance in the Americas was important because it represented a complete fulfillment of the covenant God made with Abraham and, by extension, with all who believe in Jesus Christ.

The covenant promised that Abraham’s posterity would have the opportunity to continue learning and progressing throughout eternity, that they would inherit certain lands, and that Christ Himself would come through Abraham’s lineage.

When Lehi and his family left Jerusalem 600 years before Christ’s birth and came to the Americas, they established a nation that descended directly from the house of Israel. To keep His word, God would have to offer these people the same blessings and opportunities promised to Abraham.

This is the reason Christ visited the Americas—to fulfill the Abrahamic covenant by extending the blessings to all of Abraham’s posterity.

With that knowledge, you might see that since God provided an account of His dealings with the ancient Jews (the Bible), He would also provide an account that showed His fulfilment of the covenant with His “other sheep” (the Book of Mormon). God’s interactions with the people who came to the Americas are indeed recounted in the Book of Mormon.

In the New Testament, Paul further explained God’s promise of bringing Christ through Abraham’s lineage and then of bringing all of Abraham’s posterity to Christ: “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).

Bringing people to Christ is one of the overarching themes in the Book of Mormon. As another testament of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon is one more way God fulfills this promise to the world.