13 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, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
(3 Nephi 1:13-14)
One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon, as defined on its title page, is “that [we] may know the covenants of the Lord, that [we] are not cast off forever.” In the passage above, the Savior reassures the prophet Nephi that the prophecies made by Samuel the Lamanite five years earlier were about to be fulfilled. Samuel prophesied boldly of events which would be easily recognized when they happened. He said there would be bright lights in the heavens, so that on the night before the Savior’s birth it would be as bright as day (Helaman 14:3-5). This had clearly not happened, and the non-believers were not only mocking the believers but threatening to kill them if the prophecy wasn’t fulfilled by a certain day. “And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass” (3 Nephi 1:7). Under those circumstances, the prophet Nephi prayed on behalf of his persecuted brethren and received an answer.
The Savior reassures Nephi, “I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.” This refers to the specific events foretold by Samuel, which were the cause of Nephi’s immediate distress, but the Savior makes it clear that He isn’t just talking about Samuel: “I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world.” The words of the prophets aren’t always immediately fulfilled and can’t always be immediately proven, so we must exercise faith in their words until the evidence comes.
Today, I will be grateful for prophets, both ancient and modern, who deliver promises from God. I will remember that, even when those promises aren’t immediately fulfilled, we have the assurance that they will all be fulfilled eventually. Just as the believing Nephites continued to believe in the prophecies of Samuel, I will continue to believe in the words of living prophets even when I lack a full understanding of how those words will be fulfilled.