CLICK HERE to read Jacob 4.
Jacob now shares about the experience of keeping his record. He talks about how it is difficult to engrave upon the plates (verse 1), and how because of this he must choose the most important things to share (verse 2). He shares how “in this thing we do rejoice; and we labor diligently to engraven these words upon plates, hoping that our beloved brethren and our children will receive them with thankful hearts…” (verse 3).
What a gift to us!
So why does he write these things? To testify of Christ, he says, “that they (us!) may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming…” (verse 4). This is specific to LDS beliefs, that all the prophets before Christ, from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Isaiah – all of them knew of Christ. Christ wasn’t just something that happened in the middle of the timeline, but they knew – at that time, when they were living – that everything was pointing to Christ’s coming, just as we know it all points to that He has come already (and will come again).
“Behold, they (all the prophets before Christ) believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name. And for this intent we keep the law of Moses, it pointing our souls to him; and for this cause it is sanctified unto us for forgiveness, even as it was accounted unto Abraham in the wilderness to be obedient unto the commands of God in offering up his son Isaac, which is a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son” (verse 5).
Everything before Christ was a “type and shadow” that pointed to Christ.
And the people knew it.
This is why the study of the prophets, like in the Old Testament, such as Isaiah, is so very important. Because it brings a whole new understanding and meaning to the Old Testament when you read it from the perspective of realizing they knew at that time what was going on, that they knew everything was pointing to the promised Messiah, to the Savior who would come.
“Wherefore, we search the prophets… and our faith becometh unshaken…” (verse 6).
But still, the reason our faith is strong is because it is in HIM.
Not because of ourselves, but because of HIM and His great atoning sacrifice.
“… we may know it is by his grace…” (verse 7).
Then Jacob gives a warning, to remind us not to “despise the revelations of God” (verse 8), because only God knows His ways. His ways are not our ways. So we can only know His ways by Him revealing them to us.
So we need to tune into His revelations – through scriptures and through the Spirit and through our leaders and through our families and all the ways He teaches us – and “take counsel from His hand” (verse 9) because “ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all of his works” (verse 10). Even me. Even you.
So we do very much need Him and His counsel.
Jacob pleads with us to be at-one with the Lord again, to repent and turn to Him for healing and forgiveness and counsel to learn and grow and progress. “Be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, His Only Begotten Son…” (verse 11).
Jacob throws in a little reprimand, reminding us not to be surprised that he would teach this (verse 12), because understanding the atonement of Christ is the most important thing of all.
Because it is most important, Jacob wants to be clear and speak to us in ways that we understand – even when at first we think these ways are harsh because they are hard to hear. But the more aligned our will is with His will, the more in tune we are with His Spirit, the more we become our true selves by becoming more like Him, the easier that truth is to bear – because instead of a call to repentance, it becomes “well done, my good and faithful servant”.
“Wherefore, it (the Holy Spirit) speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls” (verse 13).
But, he says again, the “stiffnecked people” – stubborn and obstinate, refusing to submit to the will of God – these people “despised the words of plainness” and so God took away the plain teachings (verse14).
This how it works, as it has always worked:
If we refuse truth, He removes what little truth we had.
If we believe (accept and act upon) truth, He gives us more.
It’s that simple.