Moroni returns to the record of the Jaredites. That nation didn’t listen or believe in Ether’s words, a prophet. Though he told them all things from the beginning about the land they inhabited and how it was a promised and blessed land, they rejected him. Ether taught them that their land—the American continent—would be “the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.” (3)
Ether saw Christ’s mortal sojourn on earth and also the latter-days, with the New Jerusalem built upon this continent. The Old Jerusalem would once again become a great and holy city for the house of Israel, but a New Jerusalem would be built up here for the remnant of the seed of Joseph.
Joseph of Egypt was taken from his family and raised up in another land (Egypt), but he saved his family because of this hardship. Lehi, a branch of Joseph, was taken from his homeland in Israel and taken to another land. From his seed would come the salvation (Book of Mormon and restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ) for the rest of the house of Israel struggling in darkness.
Moroni was about to write more, but is forbidden. God knew what he needed us to know, and didn’t put more in the record that could condemn us, since we must live up to what we know. That is a tender mercy.
The people cast Ether out. The prophet hides by day in a cavity of a rock (like Nephi and Mormon) and at night “he went forth viewing the things which should come upon the people.” (13) That must have been so heart-breaking to witness the destruction of his entire people.
The same year that Ether is cast out, a great war begins. Coriantumr gives battle to those who want to dethrone him, but repents not. No one did. They rejected the words of the prophet. Coriantumr had studied “all the arts of war and all the cunning of the world…” (16), so he is lifted up in his own strength and wisdom and feels he has this handled. After a year of bloodshed, Ether is commanded to go preach to the king.
And in the second year the word of the Lord came to Ether, that he should go and prophesy unto Coriantumr that, if he would repent, and all his household, the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people—
Otherwise they should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself. And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophesies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them; and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr.”Ether 13:20-21
This prophetic counsel could not be more specific. I would think he would have wanted to immediately repent. But he did not heed the warning of the prophet. That would’ve required humility, and he would not humble himself, even when everything was going so badly.
The people seek to kill Ether again and he hides in his cave once more. A man called Shared gives battle to Coriantumr and beats him and imprisons him. Coriantumr’s sons beat Shared and restore the kingdom to its rightful heir. War is everywhere, “every man with his band fighting for that which he desired.” (25) Not what God desired.
Do I ever fight for what I desire so much that I ignore or can’t hear what God wants for me?
This war gets intense between Shared and Coriantumr, both of them super angry with the other. Anger never leads to good results. Never!
They battle back and forth in their anger until Shared is slain, but Coriantumr is wounded and can’t go to battle for the next two years, “in which time all the people upon the face of the land were shedding blood, and there was none to restrain them.” (31)
Rejecting the prophet in their day led to the total breakdown of civility. Their anger led them to illogical, self-destructive behavior.
Our prophet today has asked us to love everyone, even our enemies. He’s asked us to be grateful to God every day for the blessings He has given us. He’s asked us to be civil in our public discourse and honest in all our dealings with others.
Let us heed the words of living prophets, so we don’t make the same mistakes the Jaredites did and earn a tragic ending.
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