The prophet Ether’s days are in the days of King Coriantumr. He is constrained to preach to the people from morning until night, urging them to repent and turn again to the Lord. He teaches them about faith, the first principle of the gospel.
“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (4)
Believing in God gives us certainty of a better world in the next life, because we believe His promises.
The Apostle Paul wrote about it this way:
But without faith it is impossible to please him [God]; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him...
“These [the ancient prophets] all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”Hebrews 11:6,13
Faith is an anchor to our soul, pushing us to action and, like an anchor, makes us sure and steadfast in our testimony of Jesus Christ.
The people don’t believe Ether about the great and marvelous things he teaches them “because they saw them not.” (5) They are a people without faith, which is sad.
Moroni inserts his wisdom into the narrative.
I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.”Ether 12:6
Paul wrote much the same thing in the old world:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”Hebrews 11:1
Our faith will be tested in this life, to see if we let it grow or wither away. Hopefully, we turn to God and let it grow.
A group of people had been cast out of their churches in Alma’s day. We might feel cast out in certain ways today. Maybe we voted for someone else our family didn’t, and now, we’ve been cast out of their good graces. Maybe we’ve made choices in life that have put us on the outs with family or friends. Maybe we’ve been cast out of a friend group because our social ranking isn’t high enough or we made a social faux pas. Whatever is is that makes us feel “cast out,” we can look upon this type of trial as a way to strengthen our faith, not forsake it. Alma told the cast-offs in his day:
…it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues [or, in your family’s good opinion and judgment in our day], that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren because of your exceeding poverty, that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble.Alma 32:!2
The trial of our faith—whatever it may look like in our lives—can humble us in good ways. When we are humble, we realize we aren’t as great or capable as we once thought. We realize we need someone stronger, wiser, and better than us. We realize we need our Savior.
And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repenteth; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.”Alma 32:13
If the trials of our faith bring us to repentance, that will be for our ultimate good. We will be humble enough to be changed by Christ.
Moroni goes onto say that Christ showed Himself unto the people because of their faith.
Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.”Ether 12:9
To be partakers of God’s gifts requires faith. Hope as well, which we will cover in another post.
Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled.”Ether 12:11
The sacrifice of His Son is Heavenly Father’s gift to us, and by faith we can tap into our Savior’s power and might through repentance, unleashing the infinite power of His Atonement in our lives.
Moroni outlines all the examples throughout history where faith came into play.
- Christ showing himself to the Nephites
- Christ’s atonement
- Law of Moses given
- The prison tumbling to the earth when Alma and Amulek were in it, and they weren’t harmed
- The conversion of the Lamanites by Nephi and Lehi’s missionary efforts
- Ammon’s mighty missionary work among the Lamanites
- The three Nephite disciples not tasting of death
- Mahonri Moriancumr seeing the finger of God, and then God’s whole personage, and then the whole history of the world
- The coming forth of the Book of Mormon to us in these days.
Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith, even those who were before Christ and also those who were after.
And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.”Ether 12:16-18
Moroni explains how it was the promise that this record (the Book of Mormon) would be given to the Gentiles and the remnant of their seed in the latter-days that gave him and his fathers faith to preserve it.
Moroni confessed to the Lord that he worried we would mock this record and his words, because of their weakness in writing. He felt powerful when speaking with the Holy Ghost, but when he put those thoughts into words on gold plates, he felt awkward and stilted as he stumbled over the placement of them.
God reassures Moroni with these words:
Fool mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;“Ether 12:26
Then He continues with one of my most favorite verses in this whole book:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”Ether 12:27
What an awesome promise. God gives us weaknesses, but they’re nothing to be ashamed about, unless we don’t try to overcome them. He gave them to us to make us humble, so we would turn to Him. He promises that when we humble ourselves before Him, He can make us strong in whatever area we are weak in. His perfection enables us to become perfect too.
Best promise EVER!
No one can return to the presence of God without divine grace….To receive this enabling power, we must obey the gospel of Jesus Christ,which includes having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ for the rest of our lives.”Grace, Gospel Topics
Faith truly is an anchor, holding us to God, keeping us safe during the storms in life. Will we firmly anchor our faith on the Rock of our Redeemer? How can I strengthen my faith in Him today?
Get a Free copy of the Book of Mormon to study.