Covenant making and keeping are the life blood of spiritual living. Covenants teach us of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, covenants inspire us to keep the commandments in the name of Christ, and the cords of covenants loose us from the bands of death and hell, sealing us to the everlasting Father and those that we love. The speech of prophet-king Benjamin is one of the most memorable covenant-making scenes in all of scripture.
In this article we will see the covenant-making structure of the speech (focusing especially on Mosiah 4-6), the roles of king, people, and God in the covenant-making process and the doctrinal details that constitute the living power of these covenants. Continue reading
Jacob 1—Prophetic and Priesthood Responsibility
We owe much to faithful Jacob. He and his direct posterity preserved for us a crucial portion of the Book of Mormon, the Small Plates of Nephi (1 Nephi – Omni), which include all of the key doctrines and principles of the Gospel essential for happiness in this life and eternal life in the hereafter. In Jacob’s own words he describes his zeal to teach and record the truth for his people and posterity’s sake.
[Nephi] gave me, Jacob, a commandment that I should write upon these plates a few of the things which I considered to be most precious…and that I should preserve these plates and hand them down unto my seed, from generation to generation. And if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible, for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people. (1:2-4)
One of the most beautiful and doctrinally significant discourses in the Book of Mormon was given by Jacob, brother of Nephi in 2 Nephi 6-10. The farewell speech of King Benjamin or the sermons of Jesus Christ when he visited the American continent are all well known. But seldom do we recognize that 2 Nephi 6-10 comprises a single lengthy gospel discourse.
The structure of Jacob’s mighty speech is quite simple. 2 Nephi 6 serves as an introduction to his discourse, outlining the key themes that he wishes to talk about, and establishing a framework for understanding and interpreting Isaiah 50-52:2. Jacob quotes these two Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi 7 & 8. Next, Jacob moves to the main body of his discourse, found in chapter 9, to explicate gospel principles and elucidate the meaning of the words of Isaiah. He concludes his discourse in 2 Nephi 10, encouraging his listeners to live in joy and happiness because of the covenants and atonement of the Lord. Continue reading
Have you ever wondered if you would sleep through the sound of the trumpets on resurrection morning (D&C 45:45-46)? Or have you ever considered that sleeping patterns of today may adversely affect you tomorrow? From a spiritual perspective these are essential questions about our personal salvation. Fortunately, the scriptures provide us powerful insights about the symbolic meaning of resurrection that teach us how to overcome and avoid an “endless sleep” (Moroni 9:13) that could befall us at any time.
Quite early the Book of Mormon exposes us to the idea of spiritual resurrection. Upon arrival to the Promised Land, and in preparation for his own death, Lehi gave counsel and blessings to each one of his children. His sons Laman and Lemuel had experienced considerable difficulty keeping the commandments, which left them vulnerable to the full measure of God’s justice. Lehi feared for their eternal welfare, so accordingly he exhorted them to repent using bold commands and figurative language. Continue reading
Nephi provides one of the most remarkable visionary experiences recorded in scripture. In the short sweep of four chapters he unveils patterns of the plan of salvation woven into the threads of world history. In the process he also elucidates four vital gospel themes which appear throughout scripture and in the words of living-day prophets. A careful study of Nephi’s grand vision of 1 Nephi 11-14 will prepare us to understand the patterns of the plan of salvation and the gospel as they are manifested in history and throughout the scriptures.
We will explore this vision today using three perspectives. The first two perspectives are “apocalyptic literature” and “salvation history.” The last perspective involves four key themes present in Nephi’s vision, which are also found repeatedly throughout the Book of Mormon. When we understand these four key themes we have made significant inroads to understanding patterns and themes throughout the Book of Mormon, other scripture, and history. In preparation to carefully investigate Nephi’s vision let us study each of the three perspectives introduced here: apocalyptic literature, salvation history, and the four gospel themes. Continue reading