CLICK HERE to read Ether 3.
Now that the Lord had prepared Jared’s family for what they would experience, and now that He had instructed them in how to build safe vessels for the journey, He challenges Jared’s brother to problem solve the issue of light inside the vessels.
Jared’s brother knows the light cannot come externally, since there can be no windows, and he knows it cannot come from any fire source because the Lord already told him that would not work. So he has to get creative. He comes up with a kind of white stone that he asks the Lord to light up (verse 1).
There are several kinds of rocks that light up, or glow, depending on the minerals in them (some of these are on display in our local zoo). It could have been these rocks that he chose, asking the Lord to bless the rocks to work as they were designed. It is likely he used one of those rocks, since he says specifically that he did “molten” the rock, and so extracted minerals in some way, or fused them by melting; or, the rock itself is already glowing because of its minerals, and he is presenting it as a plan for use to see if the Lord approves. Either way, it was rock that he chooses for the Lord to use to give them light on their journey.
Jared’s brother asks very humbly, acknowledging that they are weak while the Lord is holy, and saying that they know He lives in heaven while they are still unworthy. He confesses that they easily fall into evil, and so have been commanded to call upon the Lord for help fulfilling what they have been asked to do – and so this is his prayer, asking in obedience according to those instructions, and in faith that the Lord will hear their prayer and respond as promised (verse 2). He calls on the Lord’s mercy, and shows that he has done all he can do by using his resources, working hard through self-reliance, and presenting a plan for acceptance (verse 3).
Jared’s brother then testifies of the power of the Lord, and asks Him to simply touch the stones so that they will be prepared and ready to shine in the darkness (verse 4). He then repeats again his testimony that the Lord is powerful enough to do this (verse 5).
The Lord answers Jared’s brother immediately, and He “stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear” (verse 6).
Jared’s brother saw the Lord! He was so startled that he fell to the ground!
The Lord tells him to arise, and ask why he fell (verse 7).
Jared’s brother explains that he really did see the actual finger of the Lord, and that he was surprised because he didn’t realize that the Lord “had flesh and blood” (verse 8).
The Lord tells Jared’s brother that he was able to see His finger because of his faith, and that “never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger” (verse 9). He asks if he saw more than just the finger, and Jared’s brother says no and asks the Lord to reveal himself (verse 10).
The Lord asks if Jared’s brother will believe the things He will say (verse 11), and Jared’s brother replies (verse 12):
Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
When Jared’s brother said this, the Lord did reveal Himself to him. The Lord explains that He was able to do this because his faith (belief) turned into knowledge (testimony), and so he was redeemed and “therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you” (verse 13).
Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ… In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name… (verse 14).
The Lord then says that never before has He shown himself “unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast” (verse 15). The Lord goes on to point out how he can see that he is made in God’s image (verse 16).
Moroni now interrupts the story, giving us another monologue, saying that he cannot here record all that happened in this interaction between the Savior and Jared’s brother. He writes, “sufficeth me to say that Jesus showed himself unto this man… even after the manner and in the likeness of the same body even as he showed himself unto the Nephites” (verse 17). Moroni also says that the Savior then ministered unto Jared’s brother just as he ministered unto the Nephites (and to the disciples in Israel); “and all this, that this man might know that he was God, because of the many great works which the Lord had showed unto him” (verse 18).
Moroni then explains something significant, commenting on what the Savior said earlier when Jared’s brother saw his finger and fell to the ground:
And because of the knowledge of this man, he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting (verse 19).
It was faith no longer.
Because his faith had grown into knowledge.
It was no longer faith. He knew.
Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him (verse 20).
Moroni returns to the story, sharing that the Lord told Jared’s brother that he must hold this experience sacred, and that he must not share it with everyone. Instead, he must “treasure up the things which ye have seen and heard, and show it to no man” (verse 21). The Lord tells him that what he writes must be written in a language that cannot be read, and that this writing must also be sealed (verses 22-23). The Lord says that when the time is right, these writings will be revealed (verse 24).
The Lord then showed Jared’s brother all the people of the earth who had lived, and who will live, and withheld nothing from this vision (verse 25). Because Jared’s brother could no longer be held from within the veil, then the Lord could show all things to him and nothing could be withheld (verse 26). The Lord told him to write these things, and seal them up (verse 27) until the time the Lord chooses to reveal these things (verse 28).