Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2 Nephi - Chapter 10

I wonder why the name of Christ was not revealed until Jacob.  Apparently it was not found in the Brass Plates of Laban or revealed to Nephi or Lehi.  Perhaps Heavenly Father wants us to notice Jacob as a truly great prophet in the hope that we will pay special attention to his words.  It is also interesting that Jacob becomes the one who here, shares and then interprets the words of Isaiah.  Nephi has indicated that he is able to understand Isaiah's words because he is familiar with the culture of the Jews.  Jacob was born in the wilderness and knew little about Jerusalem, at least first hand.  Clearly he was a good student of his brother, his father and the Spirit, to be qualified to make such interpretations for us.  Perhaps we can learn from Jacob that Isaiah can indeed be understood by we who also are far removed from Jerusalem.

I can't see this specifically mentioned in The Book of Mormon, but is seems to me that when comforting words are given to the Nephites about the eventual restoration of their seed to the knowledge of the truth, it would be a hollow comfort if it only included their far distant posterity.  What about all the ones lost in hell in between their present and the far distant conversion of their children at the hands of the Gentiles?  Surely, they understood that upon the conversion of their descendants in the latter days that those recovered family members would commence the work of redemption for their dead and restore the links of eternity to their entire family.

I have a dear friend who is a Baptist minister.  We were once employed together in a job that required we work together closely.  Both of us were quite anxious about the situation at first.  The reasons are obvious.  What a surprise it was to each of us when we became fast friends.  We discussed religion often.  In an early conversation he asked if I had been born again.  I replied that I had.  You could have knocked him over with a feather.  Upon his recovery from the shock he told me, "You are the first Mormon I ever met who ever mentioned that, let alone claimed it!"

Perhaps many of his Mormon friends didn't claim to be born again because they had not.  Many more, I suspect are just uncomfortable mentioning it.  It seems such a Protestant phrase that we dismiss it along with grace.  The fact is, however, that we must be born again and we must receive grace sufficient to qualify us for our rebirth.  Looking back from that startling conversation, I thought of my rebirth and the sacred gift of grace.  I thought of reading Steven Robinson's book Believing Christ and the paradigm shift that ensued.  I thought of my impossible recovery from addiction.  I thought of the unspeakable blessing it is to have Christ rescue me from the bonds of iniquity.  So, I really appreciate Jacob's admonition when he says:
 "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved."

1 comment:

D1Warbler said...

I just did a word search of the Scriptures on lds.org and found that, indeed, Jacob is the first Prophet to mention the name of Christ. The word "Christ" is not found anywhere in the Old Testament, so not only was it not mentioned by the prophets of the Brass Plates, it was not mentioned in any further Jewish Scriptures either.

Interestingly, the lds.org search engine missed 2 Nephi 10 as having the word "Christ" within it. It lists 1 Nephi 11 as the first chapter in the Book of Mormon in which the word "Christ" may be found.

I, too, have no idea why the Lord didn't tell his Prophets that Jesus would be called "Christ." It will be interesting to discover His reasoning some day. Until then, your idea that perhaps it is to let us understand the true stature of the Prophet Jacob is well worth considering.