Sometimes the Lord doesn’t give us all the answers. He asks us what we propose to do. When we think about what we want, why we want it, and our reasoning behind it, then we are able to “reason with” and council with the Lord. It’s more meaningful because we have done all the work. It’s like choosing a school for college. You ask the Lord, “I have this school, this school, and this school to choose from, where should I go?” The Lord says, “I don’t know, where do you want to go?” You say, “Well, this school because it has the exact degree program I want and I feel like the transition from school to job opportunities would be really good, but it’s a little out of my price range.” The reply is, “Don’t worry about the money, work hard and save as much as you can and I’ll take care of the rest.” True story by the way.
High on a Mountaintop
The brother of Jared goes unto Mount Shelem and moltens out 16 small stones that were white and clear and transparent glass. Cross reference Exodus 24:12-13. Moses is commanded to come up to the mount of God (Sinai) and receive the tablets of the law. Cross reference 1 Nephi 11:1. He is caught up to an exceedingly high mount which he had never before seen. Do you think that these three scriptures are linked because they all took place on the same mount? John was also caught up to a high mountain. Something to think about.
This Experience is Not to be Revealed Until a Later Date
After the brother of Jared has his experience and is finished conversing with the Lord, he writes down his experience (don’t worry, we’ll get to it) and they are not to be revealed until after Christ has been lifted up on the cross. This brings up an interesting point because King Mosiah got ahold of these records before Christ was crucified. Do you think he left this part untranslated? Maybe he did translate them but passed them down until the time they should be revealed? The prophets were in possession of scriptures that was not to be known unto the people at a later date. We know that because part of the Book of Mormon record was sealed.
Why Did The Jaredites Leave Babylon?
The brother of Jared calls upon the Lord and the Lord says he has smitten them because of their iniquity and driven them forth for many years. I think this scripture gives us more insight into why they left Babylon. Remember that languages were being confounded and people were being driven forth from the land in the wrath of the Lord? God said they were being iniquitous. Is that why they left Babylon and Jared asked his brother to pray to God on their behalf? Then, due to the brother of Jared’s faithfulness, their languages weren’t confounded? In verse 2 of chapter 3 it has a cross reference for Genesis 18:25-33. This is part of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. When the Lord will spare the city if there are but 10 righteous people in the city. Was it a similar circumstance with the Jaredites? Did the Lord spare them as much as he did solely based on the brother of Jared’s righteousness? I don’t know, but it’s something to think about.
The Lord Touches the 16 Stones
The brother of Jared presents the 16 stones before the Lord and asks him to touch them that they may shine forth in the darkness. I really like his prayer. He acknowledges that the lord has all the power and can do all things for the benefit of man. Then he presents his request and the reason for his request. And he closes his prayer by again acknowledging the power of God and his trust that he can do this thing.
Update 2017: Since writing this, I’ve learned an interesting thought from this scripture. Remember how we have been drawing parallels between this story as well as the story of Noah? I remember reading this is another one of those times there is a parallel. Have you ever wondered why the brother of Jared asked the Lord to touch stones? The writer that I read suggested that Noah asked the Lord to do the same thing so that he’d have light in the ark. The brother of Jared was simply drawing from what he knew of his ancestor and asking the Lord to do the same thing. Pretty cool thought right? If this is true, it would show not only how much history the brother of Jared knew, but also something of what he thought of the importance of their journey.
When the brother of Jared asked this of the Lord, the Lord stretched forth and touched the stones one by one. The veil was removed from before the eyes of the brother of Jared and he saw the finger of God. It was of flesh and blood. This caused him to fall down before the Lord and was struck with fear. I love how the scriptures answer questionshave ahve every day. When I was just reading chapter 3 verse 6, I was wondering if the brother of Jared saw God (Heavenly Father) or Jesus Christ. But then I looked at the footnote and I saw it was Jesus Christ!
God’s Body is Flesh and Bone
Cross reference Daniel 5:5 and Abraham 3:11-12. Both these people saw that God is a god of flesh and bone. Not only do we have an account in the Book of Mormon of this fact, but also in the Pearl of Great Price and Bible. Cross reference Ether 12:19, 21. The veil was taken from the brother of Jared because of his great faith and the promise he obtained from the Lord. What is that promise you say? Well, cross reference Ether 3:26 (a verse I will be reading soon). The Lord promises the brother of Jared that if he will believe in him, he will show him all things! I feel like this is an answer to my prayers. If you want to talk to God, pray. If you want God to talk to you, read the scriptures. Verse 26 of Ether 3. That’s the one. Believe in Him and he will show you all things. The Lord could withhold nothing because the brother of Jared knew the Lord could show him all things.
What Does it Mean to Believe?
What does it mean to have faith? Faith is a hope for things which are not seen which are true. The Bible defines faith as trust in God. you may not have a perfect understanding that God will do something but you trust him, you understand your relationship between Him and you (see Bible Dictionary entry on prayer). Faith and believing aren’t a perfect knowledge but a strong trust in God. The more I think about it, the more clear it becomes. If you want to have more faith, you need to understand the relationship you have between God and build that relationship.
I love this verse because all it says is to believe. It doesn’t say you have to know him before you have things revealed unto you. All you have to do is believe. That’s not a huge requirement. Trust God, believe. That’s it. Not a whole lot to do. But with huge implications. Because if you believe him, then you believe all that he has said. He’s said a lot. If you believe, you need to be obedient to the laws and commandments of the gospel. It is a simple idea that encompasses everything. Really, it’s enduring to the end. Believing in God is enduring. Going through whatever trials God puts you through. God knows those trials, if proceeded through correctly, will refine you and turn you into the person you need to be.
Once you live up to those qualifications and invite the blessings you deserve, God isn’t going to hold back. He can’t. The brother of Jared believed God so much that he didn’t ask for anything God wouldn’t help him with. When you ask for all the things God has in store for you, you begin to miracles and added power and strength come into your life. Understanding the relationship between you and God and asking the right will-aligned questions comes from reading the scriptures, praying, going to church, paying tithing, and doing all the other things God has asked us to do. Everytime we practice these laws, we not only qualify for and receive blessings but we understand the law a little more and why it is important to follow it.
From Faith to Knowledge
The Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen and says, “Arise, why hast thou fallen?” The brother of Jared replies, “I saw the finger of the Lord and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood”. Can you imagine this encounter? The brother of Jared has all this faith, he prays to God to have him touch the stones and then he sees him do it! It scares him! He falls down and thinks the Lord is going to hurt him. Cross reference Moses 1:11. The brother of Jared has seen God with his eyes. Not with his temporal eyes, but with his spiritual eyes. If he had looked upon him with his temporal eyes, he would have withered away. Behold, the brother of Jared was transfigured before the Lord.
Can you imagine how you would have felt and acted after seeing this? All this faith would be confirmed and turned into pure knowledge. You would never lose focus because you demonstrated enough faith to see Jesus Christ and saw him! After he went home that night, he must have been in shock still. What in the world just happened? Either that or he would have come home rejoicing in God and his infinite mercy and goodness. I like the latter. I am reminded of the Prince of Egypt right after God shows Moses what he needs to do and imbues him with power to do it. He looks a little crazy after the event, but he is just so happy and amazed because not only was he in the presence of the Lord, but also felt of his love for him in calling him to be a prophet. That’s how I imagine this is happeneing.
The Lord tells him because of his faith he has seen that he will take upon himself flesh and blood. Never has man come before him with such exceeding faith as the brother of Jared. Were it otherwise, he would not have seen him. Then he asks if he saw more than the finger. The brother of Jared’s reply was, “No, show yourself unto me.” The Lord says, “Believest the words which I shall speak?” Cross reference 1 Nephi 11:4. Nephi was asked a similar question in his dream of the tree of life. The brother of Jared tells the Lord that he does believe the words that he shall speak because he is a God of truth.
I have thought about the fact that God cannot lie. God is almighty and powerful and whatever he says, goes. Think of all the scriptures we have access to and all the promises God has made to everyone. It’s quite a bit. If God is a God of truth and cannot lie, that means all those promises in the scriptures are still valid. That means that all of the words of the prophets and apostles are valid. We learn in the D&C that when we obey the laws of God, it is because of our righteousness and obedience to those laws that we receive specific blessings. I think it’s safe to say that we have unlimited access to blessings and help from God, all because he cannot lie and what he says is law. It’s abotut time we realize this and start calling on those blessings.
What Does it Mean to Be Quickened By the Spirit?
When the brother of Jared said that he believed unto the Lord, the Lord revealed himself. The Lord tells him that he is redeemed from the fall and because he knows the things he does, he gets to see him. Cross reference D&C 67:11. No man has seen God in the flesh except when quickened by the spirit of God. What does the word “quickened” mean in this context? The root word is quick which means fast. To quicken someting is to make something move or operate faster. So, when it says you must be quickened before you see God, does that mean that some bodily process or function speeds up? I think so. In my Moses notebook (not yet published) I talked about how spiritual experiences and using priesthood power, physically drain you. If that is indeed the case, imagine being in the presence of God, the source of that power. But to such a magnitude that your body cannot keep up. It is like a giant critical attack in Pokemon. Where you have zero energy left and since your body cannot compensate by recovering fast enough, it pulls from stored energy such as carbs and fat. But, being in the presence of God, that drains out super quick. The only way you can survive is if your bodily functions are sped up and your body as a whole can tolerate the requirements of being in the presence of God. Maybe that’s what happenes when you are transfigured? Since there is no known way to artificially do this, you have to have it done by the spirit of God because that is where the power comes from.
One last thing on being quickened by the spirit of God. Do you think that’s why people lived longer in the days of Adam? He was continually walking and talking with God face to face so he had to have the body for it? To compensate I mean. And because his bodily processes were going so fast and efficient, that is why he lived to be 900 years-ish old? Then, as people were wicked and began to interact with God less and less, their bodies no longer had that need to operate at such a high capacity so the lifespan of people slowly decreased until it is what it is today, 70-100 years? And we are trying to artificially extend our lifespan through the use of medicine and medical technology?
The Body of Christ and Being Redeemed from the Fall
When it says that the brother of Jared was redeemed from the fall, it cross references Enos 1:8 when Enos was forgiven of his sins. So the brother of Jared was forgiven of all his sins?
Jesus Christ created man after the body of his spirit. Interesting thought. Never heard it put that way. So the body is the same shape and look as the spirit. there you have it, Book of Mormon evidence that he spirit looks like the body.
Jesus Christ will come in the flesh looking the same way he did as a spirit. That’s kind of the cool to think about. If you want to know what the spirit body of Jesus Christ looks like, just look at him. Does the same hold true for us all? do we look the same in spirit as we do in body. Only much more fit and chiseled? 🙂 It would be nice. Then, I wouldn’t have to get used to a new face. I feel like we have the same spirit as we do body. That makes sense to me.
Stay tuned for next week’s installment.