Book of Mormon: Sherem and Jacob (Jacob 7)
It’s interesting to note what Jacob writes about and then what really happens:
Jacob 7:5 And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.
Jacob says Sherem can’t shake him from the faith because of:
–having received revelations;
–having seen angels, and their ministering to him;
–having heard the voice of the Lord.
Jacob 7:7 …And now behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you that this is blasphemy; for no man knoweth of such things; for he cannot tell of things to come. And after this manner did Sherem contend against me.
Jacob 7:8 But behold, the Lord God poured in his Spirit into my soul, insomuch that I did confound him in all his words.
Jacob 7:11 … Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.
Jacob 7:12 And this is not all–it has been made manifest unto me, for I have heard and seen; and it also has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, I know if there should be no atonement made all mankind must be lost.
There it is! This is the crux of Jacob’s testimony–the Holy Ghost has testified of Jesus Christ, and supports him. This is the “real” reason why he cannot be shaken.
Sherem makes a fatal Book of Mormon bad guy error:
Jacob 7:13 …Show me a sign by this power of the Holy Ghost, in the which ye know so much.
And Jacob answers:
Jacob 7:14 …What am I that I should tempt God to show unto thee a sign in the thing which thou knowest to be true? Yet thou wilt deny it, because thou art of the devil. Nevertheless, not my will be done; but if God shall smite thee, let that be a sign unto thee that he has power, both in heaven and in earth; and also, that Christ shall come. And thy will, O Lord, be done, and not mine.
“WHAT am I?” instead of “Who am I?”–interesting.
Jacob knows that Sherem is a liar and will deny a sign from the Holy Ghost, right? Hmm… What is a sign he wouldn’t be able to deny? It would no doubt have to be something clear, open, physically manifest; a taking away of Sherem’s power–to be smitten by God. And by doing so, not only would Sherem lose his power, but it would be a testimony of God’s power. But Jacob adds one more part, the most important part–the sign would prove that Christ would come. And of course, it’s God’s will, not Jacob’s.
Jacob 7:15 And it came to pass that when I, Jacob, had spoken these words, the power of the Lord came upon him, insomuch that he fell to the earth. And it came to pass that he was nourished for the space of many days.
Jacob 7:16 And it came to pass that he said unto the people: Gather together on the morrow, for I shall die; wherefore, I desire to speak unto the people before I shall die.
Jacob 7:17 And it came to pass that on the morrow the multitude were gathered together; and he spake plainly unto them and denied the things which he had taught them, and confessed the Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost, and the ministering of angels.
Here Sherem confesses what Jacob told him: Christ, the power of the Holy Ghost (by which he was struck), and angels. Wait–angels? Jacob records nothing about having spoken about angels to Jacob. Sherem might have heard it around, or it might be from here:
2 Nephi 6:9 Nevertheless, the Lord has shown unto me that they should return again. And he also has shown unto me that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, should manifest himself unto them in the flesh; and after he should manifest himself they should scourge him and crucify him, according to the words of the angel who spake it unto me.
2 Nephi 6:11 Wherefore, after they are driven to and fro, for thus saith the angel, many shall be afflicted in the flesh, and shall not be suffered to perish, because of the prayers of the faithful; they shall be scattered, and smitten, and hated; nevertheless, the Lord will be merciful unto them, that when they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be gathered together again to the lands of their inheritance.
2 Nephi 10:3 Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ–for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name–should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him–for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.
In other words, Sherem knows that Jacob has claimed to have had angels visit and minister to him.
Jacob 7:18 And he spake plainly unto them, that he had been deceived by the power of the devil. And he spake of hell, and of eternity, and of eternal punishment.
Jacob had preached a little about these things, from a long time ago:
2 Nephi 9:8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
2 Nephi 9:9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.
2 Nephi 9:10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
2 Nephi 9:12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
2 Nephi 9:19 O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
2 Nephi 9:26 For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.
Jacob 3:11 O my brethren, hearken unto my words; arouse the faculties of your souls; shake yourselves that ye may awake from the slumber of death; and loose yourselves from the pains of hell that ye may not become angels to the devil, to be cast into that lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death.
However, this is the first time “eternity” and “eternal punishment” appear in the Book of Mormon.
It’s interesting that the really bad guys in the Book of Mormon are liars–special liars–they knowingly lie unto God. Sherem is no exception:
Jacob 7:19 …I fear lest I have committed the unpardonable sin, for I have lied unto God; for I denied the Christ, and said that I believed the scriptures; and they truly testify of him. And because I have thus lied unto God I greatly fear lest my case shall be awful; but I confess unto God.
Wow, that sounds like very legal talk, eh–commit sin, lie, deny, testify; my case; confess.
Jacob 7:20 And it came to pass that when he had said these words he could say no more, and he gave up the ghost.
Jacob 7:21 And when the multitude had witnessed that he spake these things as he was about to give up the ghost, they were astonished exceedingly; insomuch that the power of God came down upon them, and they were overcome that they fell to the earth.
Jacob 7:22 Now, this thing was pleasing unto me, Jacob, for I had requested it of my Father who was in heaven; for he had heard my cry and answered my prayer.
Jacob 7:23 And it came to pass that peace and the love of God was restored again among the people; and they searched the scriptures, and hearkened no more to the words of this wicked man.
Jacob didn’t will this to happen to Sherem; but he did pray that God would find a way to bring the people back from following and believing in Sherem, to the word of God. There is contention, and then there is special contention clearly manipulated by the devil. The lack of peace and love was due to the second type, and Jacob was glad to be rid of it. This return, due to the “power of God”, was … well, powerful!