It was difficult to engrave words upon plates, but Jacob knew that whatever he made the effort to put on the plates would remain for future posterity. So he sacrificed to do something hard in order to save others.
This is what I should strive to do—work and sacrifice to help others believe in Jesus Christ. My actions, thoughts, writing, and all I do should be with the single purpose to serve my fellowmen, because I love God with all my heart.
Jacob did “labor diligently to engraven these words upon plates, hoping that our beloved brethren and our children will receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt, concerning their first parents.” (3)
Action mixed with hope gave his efforts power to save others.
He sets forth some basic beliefs in verse 5:
- “they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name”
- they kept the law of Moses because “it pointing our souls to him.”
- the law of Moses is “sanctified unto us for righteousness” because of belief in Christ.
Their belief and hope in a future Savior gave power to the law of Moses. Without Christ in the equation, it would’ve been a dead law, with no power to save anyone.
Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.”Jacob 4:6
Studying the words of the prophets bring hope. Hope strengthens faith, making it unshaken. With unshaken faith, we can do ANYTHING God needs us to do, even impossible things.
When God asks me to move mountains in my life, do I exercise faith in Him to strive to obey? Or do I question and doubt myself, showing a lack of trust in Him?
Jacob clues us into why God gives us weaknesses, to remind us that “it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.” (7)
The natural man falsely believes that blessings, talents, success, riches, power come because of his/her own merits. Whenever we believe that, we need to get on our knees and pray for a humility check to soften our hardened spiritual arteries that lead to spiritual heart attack and being cut off from the Lord.
The power of words
Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.”Jacob 4:8
This earth was created by the “power of his word.” (9) Man came to be on the earth by the “power of his word.”
To me, that shows the power of words. John, in the New Testament, referred to Jesus as The Word.
The right words said with the right authority created this earth and many others. Man knows nothing, if words alone can do such great and marvelous things as build worlds and mortal bodies for men to inhabit.
Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?”
Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.”Jacob 4:9-10
- Do I listen to the words God has given me? They’re in the holy scriptures and His prophets speak specifically to us in our day every six months at General Conference.
- Do I act on the words of God? Only in action do words gain power.
- Do my words contribute to goodness or darkness in the world?
Be reconciled to The Word
Jacob pleads again for his people and us who read his words in the future to “be reconciled unto him [God] through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son…” (11)
That theme of reconciliation comes out clearly again. The Atonement of Jesus Christ provided the way for us to become one with our God again. It enables us to be restored to harmony with Him, resolving all the differences from the Fall of Adam through Christ’s sacrifice in Gethsemane and on the cross. Blessed be the name (The Word) of Jesus for this infinite blessing and gift.
And now, beloved, marvel not that I tell you these things; for why not speak of the atonement of Christ, and attain to a perfect knowledge of him, as to attain to the knowledge of a resurrection and the world to come?”Jacob 4:12
Yes! Why not spend time on earth studying Christ’s life—The Word embodying infinite power, mercy, and love? That Word holds the keys to reconciliation. The more we learn about Jesus and His infinite and exalting powers, the more we will want to do His will so we will be close to Him, and so He can save us and make it possible for us to live with Him and the Father forever.
Jacob tells us that “these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls.” (13) The Jews in Jerusalem were stiffnecked and “despised the words of plainness.” Because of their rebellion against God, they were blinded, “which blindness came by looking beyond the mark.” (14) This caused them to reject Christ, “the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation. (15) But behold, according to the scriptures, this stone [Christ] shall become the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Jews can build.” (16)
Jacob ends with a question, leading into the longest chapter of the Book of Mormon (Jacob 5). The question we need to remember is this:
How is it possible for the Jews to build upon the stone (Jesus), which they have already rejected?
Stay tuned for Jacob’s epic answer, delivered in the form of an olive tree analogy. 😊