Before the New Testament
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“Before the New Testament,” Liahona, Apr. 2000, 6

Before the New Testament

We lived in Heaven before we came to earth

We lived in heaven with Heavenly Father before we came to earth. We were His spirit children and had spirit bodies. We loved Him and He loved us. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 354

The plan of salvation

Heavenly Father had a plan, the plan of salvation, for people to follow to become like Him. According to the plan, we would come to earth and have bodies of flesh and blood. We would be tested to see if we would obey God’s commandments. Abr. 3:24–25

A Savior would be needed

If we obeyed the commandments, we would go back to Heavenly Father. But we would need help. We would have to have our sins taken away, and we would need resurrected bodies. Because we could not take away our own sins or resurrect our own bodies, we needed a Savior to do that for us. 2 Ne. 2:5–9

Jesus is our Savior

Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior. Jesus loved Heavenly Father. Jesus also loved us, and He wanted to come to earth to show us how to be righteous and to save us. He would suffer to take away people’s sins. He would die and be resurrected. Then we would be resurrected, too. 2 Ne. 2:8–10; Moses 4:1–2

Satan had another plan

Satan also wanted to be chosen. But Satan did not love Heavenly Father. He did not love us. He wanted to change Heavenly Father’s plan so that he would have His power. Moses 4:1–4

Some spirits followed Satan

Some of the spirits followed Satan. They did not obey God, which made Him very sad. He banished Satan and his followers from heaven. Satan is the devil. He and the spirits who followed him tempt us to sin. Moses 4:3–6

Jesus created the earth

Heavenly Father told Jesus to make an earth for us. Jesus made the earth and put plants and animals on it. He made the sun, the moon, and the stars, too. At last we could come to earth and have bodies of flesh and blood! Heb. 1:2; Mosiah 3:8; Abr. 4

Prophets taught about Jesus

Many people came to live on earth. Some of them obeyed God’s commandments and some did not. Prophets taught the people about Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation and about Jesus Christ, who would come to earth to save them. 2 Ne. 2:19–21; Jacob 7:10–11; Moses 5:13–15

Jesus was born in Bethlehem

The prophets said Jesus, the Son of God, would be born in Bethlehem. His mother would be a good and beautiful woman. Her name would be Mary. Isa. 7:14; Micah 5:2; 1 Ne. 11:18–21; Alma 7:10

Many people did not know Jesus was the Savior

Many people would not know that Jesus was the Savior, the prophets said. He would look like other people, they explained, and He would not be rich. Many people would hate Him. Isa. 53:2–3

John baptized Jesus

Prophets also told about John the Baptist, who would come before Jesus and tell the people about Him. John would baptize Jesus. Isa. 40:3; Matt. 3:3; 1 Ne. 10:7–10; 1 Ne. 11:27

Jesus did many miracles

Jesus would be very kind. He would perform many miracles, and He would suffer for the sins of all people who repent. Mosiah 3:5–8; D&C 19:16–19

Jesus would die on a cross

Jesus Christ, our Savior, would be crucified. That means He would die on a cross. John 3:14; Mosiah 15:7–9

He would be resurrected

After three days, He would be resurrected—His spirit would come back into His body. Because Jesus would die and be resurrected, we would be resurrected, too. Isa. 25:8; John 2:19–22; 2 Ne. 2:8; Alma 33:22

The New Testament is the story of Jesus

The New Testament is the story of Jesus Christ and His Apostles. They lived in the Holy Land. People who lived there were descendants of Judah and other tribes of Israel and were called Jews. The Romans had captured the Holy Land, so the Roman emperor and his appointed leaders were the rulers of the Jews.

Illustrated by Paul Mann