Jacob 4

Jacob 4: Prophets

                Jacob explains that he spoke a lot of things to his people; however, because of the difficulty in engraving upon the plates… a lot of what he said is not recorded. Nevertheless, he hopes that when people in the future read these words that they will; “…receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt…” (Jacob 4:3)

Jacob explains the purpose of the plates and really all of the Book of Mormon; “…for this intent have we written these thing, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming…” (Jacob 4:4) Jacob tells us that him and his people and those who came before him in the Americas knew of Jesus Christ, and worshiped God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. His people also followed the Law of Moses, because; “…we search the prophets, and we have many revelation and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountain, or the waves of the sea.” (Jacob 4:6)

Jacob explains that God will give us and show us our own weaknesses that we might know of the true power of God, but also understand our potential and power as His children.

Jacob exclaims; “Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.” (Jacob 4:8) The mysteries of God are great, and we will never truly understand his ways. Denying that He has commanded more than just the Bible to be written is not only denying the power of God, but also saying that we know more than God or that we know His ways. Do we know all of His ways? No. The Book of Mormon was written by men who were commanded of God to write. For it was His will to insure that His children in the New World as well as the Old World would have access to His word. In modern days, The Book of Mormon serves as yet ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRST.

Jacob gives us great counsel; “…seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand…” (Jacob 4:10) In other words, stop trying to deny His great works. The Bible is not the ONLY word of God. Jacob continues to explain how God has called prophets throughout the ages to manifest His word unto us. God has done it in the past, and He will do it again… for God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

“…he that prophesieth let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not… these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls… we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old…. The jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand… because they desired it God hath done it, and they may stumble.” (Jacob 4:13-14)

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Jacob 3

Jacob 3: Jacob Warns of Sin

                “…behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction.” (Jacob 3:1)

This is a great promise that we can all lean on when we are afflicted. If we come to God with a pure heart, he will guide us. Jacob speaks to the Nephites and explains that the Lamanite righteousness had exceeded that of their own righteousness; “…ye shall remember your children, how that ye have grieved their hearts of because of the example ye have set before them…” (Jacob 3:10) We never know who is watching us, and because of that we need to be an example to everyone around us, wether that is our own children, friends, family, co-workers etc.

Jacob finishes this chapter off, by making know the seriousness of fornication, lasciviousness and of all sins, in the eyes of God.

Jacob 2

Jacob 2: Un-Chastity is bad, Seek riches to help your fellow men

 

Jacob speaks to his people saying that he wishes to rid the people of their sins, because he is; “…weighed down with much more desire and anxiety for the welfare of [their] souls…” (Jacob 2:3)

Jacob was inspired from God to tell the people that they were sinning, for many of the people were focused on the riches of the world and looked down on those who did not have as much as they did. Jacob explains to them that; “…before ye seek riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good – to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” (Jacob 2:18-19) So, is money bad? No. Money is only bad if you are greedy, if you desire to obtain riches for good then it is ok. It is when money becomes your God that it is bad.

However, Jacob continues to speak to his people about a larger and more serious sin, he explains; “…This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms…” (Jacob 2:23) Jacob explains that in times of old David and Solomon had many wives, which was an abomination to the Lord. God has commanded that men only have one wife, however God can also in some times allow for polygamy to happen; “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things [having one wife].” (Jacob 2:30) In other words unless God commands otherwise, Polygamy should not happen.

What is Polygamy?

                Polygamy occurs when there are more than two partners in a marriage. In this case, seven women marrying one man (or taking hold of one man) would constitute ‘Polygamy’ and more specifically; ‘Polygyny’; which is when a man has multiple wives.

Polygamy in the LDS Church:

                When someone wants to attack The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days [LDS]; or more commonly known as “The Mormons”, Polygamy is almost ALWAYS brought up! Why? Because the LDS Church practiced Polygamy. However, are the “Mormons” the only ones who have practiced Polygamy throughout time? No.

At various times, the Lord has commanded His people to practice plural marriage. However, like the scripture above, Polygamy was to be used within the laws of God, in other words it has only been instituted when and IF God commands. God has initiated this practice, when population of his people was at risk for extinction or in cases such as the scripture above, when women married men to take away the ‘reproach’. Early in the History of the LDS Church, so many people persecuted the church and its members that men were actually killed at an alarming rate. This left many women as widows with children. But as anyone knows women in the 1800’s were not given as many rights as men, and especially not as many rights as married women. Because women had basically no rights as single unmarried women (regardless of being widows) the Lord commanded some of the early Saints to practice plural marriage. The Prophet Joseph Smith and those closest to him, including Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, were challenged by this command, but they obeyed it. Church leaders regulated the practice. Those entering into it had to be authorized to do so, and the marriages had to be performed through the sealing power of the priesthood.

Many of the men who participated in it did so for legal reasons, and many men kept “one wife”, but had many other legal wives that did their own thing. Like the scripture mentioned above; “…We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.” – In other words give us your last name and be legally called your ‘wife’, but I will take care of myself. Some who were chosen to practice polygamy were also commanded to have children with their multiple wives; however this was not the common practice throughout the church. Anyone who disobeyed the commandment of God and used Polygamy to have control over women or simply for sexual lust were disciplined by the church.

Contrary to what many people think, the LDS Church does NOT practice Polygamy today! In 1890, President Wilford Woodruff received a revelation that the leaders of the Church should cease teaching the practice of plural marriage;

To Whom It May Concern:

Press dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized and that forty or more such marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year, also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy—

I, therefore, as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false. We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our Temples or in any other place in the Territory.

One case has been reported, in which the parties allege that the marriage was performed in the Endowment House, in Salt Lake City, in the Spring of 1889, but I have not been able to learn who performed the ceremony; whatever was done in this matter was without my knowledge. In consequence of this alleged occurrence the Endowment House was, by my instructions, taken down without delay.

Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.

There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy; and when any Elder of the Church has used language which appeared to convey any such teaching, he has been promptly reproved. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.

Wilford Woodruff

President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President Lorenzo Snow offered the following:

“I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized by virtue of his position to issue the Manifesto which has been read in our hearing, and which is dated September 24th, 1890, and that as a Church in General Conference assembled, we accept his declaration concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding.”

Salt Lake City, Utah, October 6, 1890

Jacob 1

Jacob 1: Wickedness Prevails Among the Nephites

                Jacob picks up the story of the Nephites nearly 55 years after Lehi had left Jerusalem with his family to travel to the Promised Land (America). Nephi gives command to his brother Jacob to continue the history of the people, known as the People of Nephi, or, the Nephites.

Jacob explains that he and his people; “…labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest…” (Jacob 1:7) Jacob explains that his brother Nephi was growing old and because his people loved him as a king, they were desirous that future kings be called after him in the manner of 1st, 2nd, 3rd Nephi and so forth. Jacob explains that Nephi did grow old, and did die.

We learn from Jacob that there were many groups; Lamanites, Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Leumeulites and Ishmaelites. However, Jacob chose to categorize the people who were against the Nephites as “Lamanites” and those people for the Nephites as “Nephites”.

“It came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices… they also began to search much gold and silver, and began to be lifted up somewhat in pride.” (Jacob 1:15-16)

                Jacob, seeing this great wickedness went to the Temple to teach the people, explaining that he and his priests would take; “…upon [themselves] the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon [their] own heads if [they] did not teach them the word of God with all diligence…” (Jacob 1:19)

Jacob begins his Seven Chapter section of the Book of Mormon…

Summary of 2 Nephi

Summary of 2 Nephi

Lehi opens Second Nephi with his prophecies concerning the future of his posterity. Lehi explains that Jerusalem will be destroyed, and he bestows a general curse and blessing upon Jerusalem.  We learn about the redemption and salvation through Jesus Christ, Lehi also speaks about how there is no good without evil and that everything has its opposite. Without the ability to choose for ourselves, there would be no point for us here on earth and without the Fall of Adam and Eve; we would not have had the ability to be saved by a Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Lehi speaks about Joseph, which included Joseph of Egypt. Lehi speaks about how the Lord would raise a prophet named Moses who would free the people of Israel. Interestingly, Lehi also speaks of a seer that would come forth in the Last Days to Restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this, he is referring to Joseph Smith.

Nephi continues the narrative of 2 Nephi by recording the death of his father, Lehi. After his passing, the brothers of Nephi (Laman and Lemuel) rebel against him and try to kill him. Because of this there is a division among the people and Nephi ends up forming his own land, where his people elect him to be king. The people of Nephi adhere to the Law of Moses and even build a Temple like the Temple of Solomon, they prosper exceedingly!

Nephi ordains his younger brothers, including Jacob and Joseph. Nephi puts them in charge of teaching the people. Throughout the remainder of the text for 2 Nephi is the teaching of both Nephi and Jacob. From chapters 6-10 they quote much of Isaiah, Nephi even explains how the words of Isaiah will slowly come to understanding as time goes on… for they are difficult to understand without the spirit.

Nephi ends his record by pleading with his people and the future readers to follow the Savior’s example and be baptized. Here, Nephi explains that there is more to baptism than just baptism. One must have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost and endure to the end in order to be saved in the Kingdom of God. He urges everyone to read the scriptures and pray daily!

2 Nephi 33

2 Nephi 33: Those who Believe in Christ, will Believe in Nephi

“And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.” (2 Nephi 33:1)

Here Nephi explains that not EVERYTHING God says or commands can be written down. However, the most important and precious things can be recorded. Nephi explains that he is just a man, a man who God called to speak, and while his writing is not the best… his speaking, through the Holy Ghost is perfect, because it is the word of God that can be carried to the hearts of the children of men.

Nephi also knows that not all men will open their hearts to the Holy Ghost, and therefore makes it difficult for some to believe the words of God.           Nephi hopes that “…the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good… And it speaketh harshly against sin, according to the plainnessof the truth; wherefore, no man will be angry at the words which I have written save he shall be of the spirit of the devil.” (2 Nephi 33:4-5)  

Nephi explains that the words he writes comes from God, those who cannot see the plainness of truth, and are angered by its words can only have the spirit of the devil. Nephi urges his own people and those people who will read this book in the future (us) to heed to its words; “…hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.” (2 Nephi 33:10) Again, Nephi explains that these words are the words of Christ. Those who believe in Jesus Christ will know that these are His words and shall believe in them also.

Nephi calls out the non-believer and explains that these are the words of Christ; “…for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.” (2 Nephi 33:11)

Those who believe in Jesus Christ should recognize His words, and will be shown that they are His words, whether in this life, or in the next life… before the bar of judgment. These are simple truths; the Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Nephi testifies of Him, and those who believe in Jesus Christ will believe the words of Nephi, and those who believe the words of Nephi will know that the Book of Mormon is truly Another Testament of Him. Those who believe that the Book of Mormon is true, will know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint is His Restored Church on the Earth today with Modern Prophets who lead and guide His people.

2 Nephi 32

2 Nephi 32: Men must pray to gain Knowledge

“Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?” (2 Nephi 32:2)

Nephi sees that many of his brethren are questioning what they should do after they had obtained a faith in Jesus Christ, repented of their sins, were baptized and received the Holy Ghost. He asks them if they had remembered that after you receive the Holy Ghost, you are able to speak with the tongue of Angels! After we are baptized, we must ENDURE to the end. Part of this enduring is to constantly receive strength in all the daily battles against Satan that we will fight.

Nephi continues…  “…feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do…  if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.” (2 Nephi 32:3-4) Here, Nephi explains that it is not just enough to pray, nor is it enough to just ponder and read the words of Christ. No, they must BOTH be done in order to understand the Words of God. We must diligently study the scriptures and then pray to understand the meaning of them.

After baptism, we receive the Holy Ghost, and with this Gift of the Holy Ghost we will be given guidance, so long as we do not upset the Spirit. We do this by reading and praying daily, avoiding sin and the unclean things of the world. We need to keep our minds as clean as possible. It should be recognized that no one, besides Jesus Christ, is perfect. Therefore, we need to strive to become like Jesus Christ… but when we fall short, we need to repent and move forward in His Gospel.

Nephi, after speaking to his brethren still sees that they do not fully understand, and this grieves him; “…now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.” (2 Nephi 32:7) In today’s world, so many are so easily led by the vain things of the world… look around and you can see the influence of a pop star or some celebrity, even politicians! People blindly follow these so called “role-models”, but when asked to sincerely pray and understand if for example the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, they ignore it. In fact many in the world will look at the Book of Mormon and toss it aside, even when it is given to them in ‘plainness’, but these same people ask; “Where is God?”

The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that God speaks TODAY! It is so plain, yet so hard for people to see through the stiffneckedness of the carnal man. Nephi explains that we can come to this knowledge if we pray, for the Spirit will teach a man to pray, and the evil spirit teaches a man to not pray; “…if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.” (2 Nephi 32:8)

Nephi ends this chapter by telling us that we “…must pray always, and not faint…” (2 Nephi 32:9)