Jacob tells his people that their future posterity “shall perish in the flesh because of unbelief, nevertheless, God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be restored, that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer.” (2)
What gives us true knowledge of our Redeemer?
The Book of Mormon definitely sheds bounteous light on Christ and His gospel (or good news, or plan of happiness). I would be lost without the teachings I have learned from it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also provides knowledge of the restored truths through living prophets and apostles.
Power in a name
Jacob tells them the name of their Redeemer—Christ—“for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name.” (3)
This is approximately 600 years before Christ was born in Bethlehem. Yet, Christ’s name held so much power that it was revealed to an ancient prophet, Jacob, to give to his people.
Christ is a Greek name, meaning “The Anointed One.” The Hebrew equivalent is Messiah. Jesus is The One chosen, set apart, and sent by God to save us. When we are baptized by one holding authority, we covenant to take His name upon us and always remember Him and keep His commandments.
Do I experience the power of Christ’s name by taking it upon me?
What does taking upon me His name really mean?
I’ve added some links in the Resources section at the end of this post for some powerful talks by Church leaders on the subject. It’s a fascinating subject to study and ponder. Taking upon us Christ’s name is a very personal experience and therefore, should be studied and implemented in a personal way. Go to the source (in prayer) to see how you can take His name upon you more fully.
Jacob tells his people that the wicked part of the Jews in Jerusalem will crucify their Lord, “and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.” (3) “For should the mighty miracles be wrought among other nations they would repent, and know that he be their God.” (4)
The reason the Jews didn’t soften their hearts was “because of priestcrafts and iniquities” (5) which made them “stiffen their necks against him.” Because of their willful rebellion, “destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations.” (6)
The consequences of their sins were huge, as history shows. But God doesn’t hold grudges.
He says: “…When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance” (7) and “they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion.” (8)
God is quick to bless us when we turn our hearts to Him. Not just the Jews, but anyone who chooses Him as their God. Jacob demonstrates this by prophesying about the Gentiles in the future.
And the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in carrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance.”
“And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles.” / And I will fortify this land against all other nations. / And he that figtheth against Zion shall perish, saith God.”
“I will soften the hearts of the Gentiles, that they shall be like unto a father to them; wherefore, the Gentiles shall be blessed and numbered among the house of Israel.”2 Nephi 10:8,11-13,18
Because the Gentiles humble themselves before God, He blesses them and numbers them among the house of Israel. How merciful and kind He is, always seeking to bless those who love Him, as He loves us.
A better land
“And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us [do these things:] 1) remember him; 2) lay aside our sins; 3) not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land.” (20)
Jacob pleaded with his people (and us) to remember our God. We covenant to remember Christ each week during the sacrament. How well do we do this? The world and its many distractions does a good job of distracting us from Him. I know for me, I must be proactive about remembering Christ. I must pray for Him to fill my thoughts. I must actively choose to surround myself with things that lift my thoughts to Him, and choose to see others as He sees them.
Laying aside our sins means to repent. That’s another reason we partake of the sacrament, to be cleansed from our sins. We will be attracted to holiness, not worldliness, and we will actively seek to know what sins are keeping us from being close with God, and we will set these aside and ask God to take them from us.
Not hanging our heads means to be of good cheer. To hope. God wants us to be happy. Pondering the many blessings God has given us helps lift us out of darkness. Holding onto hope for a better future. Holding onto hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His power to save us and deliver us from our afflictions and weaknesses.
Jacob says they have been driven out of the land of their inheritance, “but we have been led to a better land.”
Life doesn’t always go the way we want it, but when we trust in God, He will turn all the bad into good in ways we couldn’t imagine. He will lead us to a better land.
Free to Act
Jacob wraps up his sermon by telling the people to “cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.” (23)
The doctrine of free agency is joyous. It’s why we fought the war in heaven. Satan wanted to take away our ability to grow and become like God. We have the choice whether to let him do this or to seek after Christ and cheer up our hearts with choices that can lift us beyond this miserable world and its confusion and pain.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that is is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.”2 Nephi 10:24
How do we reconcile ourselves to the will of God?
Reconcile means to restore to friendship or harmony; to make consistent, to become. To reconcile ourselves to the will of God means to restore ourselves to harmony with the will of God. Not fight against it. To make His will consistent in our lives, to become one with His will.
But that last part of verse 24 reminds us that it isn’t because of our efforts that we are reconciled to God, but through “the grace of God that ye are saved.”
Again, we circle back to the power in a name—or THE name. The name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. We turn to Him through repentance and humility, but He is the One who paid the price to save us. Without Him, all our efforts, no matter how great, would be in vain.
- Do I pour out my heart in gratitude each day for the grace Christ offers me?
- Are my eyes open to ALL God blesses me with—even the air to breathe and the body to move and do?
- Do I receive His power in my life by taking upon me His name reverently, honorably, and with the desire to become like Him?
Taking upon us the Name of Jesus Christ by Robert C. Gay (one of my favorite talks)