Moroni discusses the power of witnesses in this short chapter. The Lord always gives witnesses to His work, in every dispensation. Moroni says that he has written down what he has been commanded to record. It almost seems as if he is talking directly to Joseph Smith in these beginning verses, who will receive these plates almost 1400 years later.
…and I have told you the things which I have sealed up; therefore touch them not in order that ye may translate; for that thing is forbidden you, except by and by it shall be wisdom in God.Ether 5:1
Moroni tells him specifically who he may show this record to:
And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates to those who shall assist to bring forth this work.”Ether 5:2
The gold plates were not to be allowed to be in the hands of those who did not appreciate their true worth. They were not for worldly wealth or gain. They were to reveal Christ’s true doctrine and convince others of His work and come unto Him. So, only those who were sincere in wanting to build God’s kingdom could receive a witness of their truth
And unto three shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true.”Ether 5:3
The three men an angel showed the plates to, besides Joseph, were Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer. Eight others were able to handle the plates and bear further witness of the truth of this ancient record and Joseph Smith gave his own testimony of the Book of Mormon (see links in resources).
God felt it was important to provide witnesses to the world of the truth and reality of His restored words in the Book of Mormon. He said “in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established…” (4) But God went beyond that and left additional witnesses to convince us.
…and the testimony of three and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record—and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day.
And if it so be that they repent and come unto the Father in the name of Jesus, they shall be received into the kingdom of God.”Ether 5:4-5
These are great witnesses. Moroni leaves his own witness and tells us that we can judge for ourselves whether these things are true, “for ye shall know that I have authority when ye shall see me, and we all stand before God at the last day. Amen.” (6)
When we receive this great witness of Christ, and it changes our hearts, we will want to become witnesses to others and share the truths we have been given. Share the light. Share the joy.
Get a Free copy of the Book of Mormon to get your own witness