Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, May 19

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 3 of 6” by grego

Book of Mormon Article: “Ether 12:27–‘Weakness’ or ‘WeaknessES?’ Part 3 of 6”
by grego
(c) 2005-2009

Ether 12:27–“Weakness” or “WeaknessES”?


Start at Part 1

Part 2

While all people have many different weaknesses, we all have the same one weakness: we are mortal, and subject to all the essence of mortality; we come short of perfection, we have sinned, we are capable of and will sin, we lack something of light, something of truth, something of God, we have not yet fully overcome.

The story of the brother of Jared seeing Jesus fits in well here:
Ether 3:1 “And it came to pass that the brother of Jared… cried again unto the Lord, saying:”
Ether 3:2 “O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his WEAKNESS BEFORE THEE; for we know that THOU ART HOLY AND DWELLEST IN THE HEAVENS, and that WE ARE UNWORTHY BEFORE THEE; BECAUSE OF THE FALL OUR NATURES HAVE BECOME EVIL CONTINUALLY; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires”.
Ether 3:3 “Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us BECAUSE OF OUR INIQUITY, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, THOU HAST BEEN MERCIFUL UNTO US. O Lord, look upon me in PITY, and TURN AWAY THINE ANGER FROM THIS THY PEOPLE, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock”.
Ether 3:4 “And I know, O LORD, THAT THOU HAST ALL POWER, AND CAN DO WHATSOEVER THOU WILT FOR THE BENEFIT OF MAN; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea”.
Ether 3:5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that THOU ART ABLE to show forth GREAT POWER, which LOOKS SMALL unto the UNDERSTANDING OF MEN.
Ether 3:6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord 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…
Ether 3:9 And the Lord said unto him: BECAUSE OF THEY FAITH thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and 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. Sawest thou more than this?
Ether 3:10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
Ether 3:11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
Ether 3:12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
Ether 3:13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things YE ARE REDEEMED FROM THE FALL; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

Wow! The brother of Jared admits the difference between God and man (including himself, especially after Ether 2:14, where the Lord chastened the brother of Jared for three hours for not “calling upon the name of the Lord”. )—weakness—says that God’s things seem “small” to man, yet He has power to do all things; and then sees God because of his great exceeding faith, and is redeemed from the state of weakness, or the Fall!

There are other places in the Book of Mormon, and other scriptures, that speak like this, too. Jacob writes:
“Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name…” (Jacob 4:5)
“Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations 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 mountains, or the waves of the sea” (Jacob 4:6).
“Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us OUR WEAKNESS that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things” (Jacob 4:7)

So, his and their faith is unshaken—not even an inkling of wavering here. They can command nature, as can God, which made the apostles in Jerusalem marvel. Yet, the early Nephites still have a weakness—seemingly a group weakness, here. This use doesn’t seem to fit in with the standard explanation of Ether 12:27, either. Jacob doesn’t say what the weakness is, but from looking at what he said previously, and his explanation afterwards, he seems to be saying that by seeing their weakness (whatever it is), they learn that God’s grace and condescensions give them the power, by their faith, to act as Jesus. Faith is not lacking, nor is the lack of faith their weakness; yet, the weakness remains. Once more, I believe that the interpretation that while man may want to be like God, and attempt to be like God, and sometimes might even be like God in some ways, he is still man, not God.

Right after this, Jacob seems to strengthen this by saying:
“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).

Is Jacob telling us something more about “weakness?” Is there something between the relationship of “weakness” and not being able to understand God and His purposes, even to the point of despising His communications with man?

There are other places. Joseph of Egypt prophesied:
2 Nephi 3:8 And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.
2 Nephi 3:9 And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.
2 Nephi 3:10 And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.
2 Nephi 3:11 But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins–and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.
2 Nephi 3:13 And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.
2 Nephi 3:14 And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded…
2 Nephi 3:15 …And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.
2 Nephi 3:17 And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him…
“And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; FOR I KNOW THEIR FAITH” (2 Nephi 3:19)
“And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the SIMPLENESS of their words” (2 Nephi 3:20)
“Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and THE WEAKNESS OF THEIR WORDS WILL I MAKE STRONG IN THEIR FAITH, UNTO THE REMEMBERING OF MY COVENANT WHICH I MADE UNTO THY FATHERS” (2 Nephi 3:21).

Continue to Part 4

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