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Ether Chapter 4

1 And the Lord commanded the brother of Jared to go down out of the mount from the presence of the Lord, and write the things which he had seen; and they were forbidden to come unto the children of men until after that he should be lifted up upon the cross; and for this cause did king Mosiah keep them, that they should not come unto the world until after Christ should show himself unto his people.

verse 1 King Mosiah kept the record of the brother of Jared contained on the Jaredite record, the plates of Ether. We know that Mosiah translated the Jaredite plates. We don't really know whether Mosiah translated the brother of Jared's account of his great vision or not. In either case, Mosiah kept it to himself. Moroni was allowed to translate that account along with the rest of the Jaredite record. Alternatively, Moroni was allowed access to that account as he abridged Mosiah's translation of the plates of Ether. The timing of Moroni's translation (or abridgement), obviously, was after Christ was "lifted up upon the cross." Nevertheless, Moroni's account of the brother of Jared's vision was sealed and unavailable to the Prophet Joseph.

2 And after Christ truly had showed himself unto his people he commanded that they should be made manifest.

verse 2 What specifically does "they" refer to here. If it refers to the translation of the entire Jaredite record, then we are not surprised to learn that the Nephites had access to the "book of Ether" just as we do today. This access was in the form of their having access to king Mosiah's translation of the plates of Ether. This verse, and the following verse, have raised the question of whether or not the Nephites even had access to the account of the great vision of the brother of Jared. Perhaps this account was even part of the scriptures expounded upon by the resurrected Lord himself when he appeared to the righteous Nephites (see 3 Nephi 26:1-4).

3 And now, after that, they have all dwindled in unbelief; and there is none save it be the Lamanites, and they have rejected the gospel of Christ; therefore I am commanded that I should hide them up again in the earth.

verses 3 Moroni was commanded to render the Jaredite record inaccessible to the unrighteous people remaining in his world. We would presume the Jaredite record was available to those Nephites who lived during the "mini-Millennium." Again, if they were available, presumably it was king Mosiah's translation to which they had access.

4 Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.

verse 4 "These plates," of course, are the plates of Mormon. This suggests that the timing of Moroni's recording of the book of Ether was after the death of his father Mormon and after the destruction of virtually all of the Nephite people. Remember that Moroni entered chapters 8 and 9 of the book of Mormon following the death of his father. The next thing he entered onto the plates of Mormon was his translation or abridgment of the book of Ether.

5 Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.

verse 5 Moroni is commanded to "seal up" two things-the account of the vision of the brother of Jared and the interpreters. For a discussion of the interpreters, see the commentaries for Mosiah 8:13, Mosiah 28:13, and The Process of Translating the Book of Mormon in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 2, Appendix A.

The process by which the interpreters were sealed up by Moroni is unknown. Presumably the purpose of this sealing up of the interpreters was simply to protect them until they could be delivered, with the plates of Mormon and the small plates of Nephi, to the Joseph Smith. Moroni makes no mention of the breastplate to which the interpreters were attached when they were found by the Prophet Joseph.

verses 6-19 In these verses, Moroni records a lengthy quotation of the Lord.

6 For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.

verse 6 "They" refers, at least in part, to the account of the vision of the brother of Jared ("those [things] which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared" in verse 4). This account will be made available during the Millennium. By the time of the onset of the Millennium, the Gentiles shall have promulgated the restored gospel, and then a major apostasy shall have occurred among them. Some of these rebellious Gentiles will have been cleansed from off the earth.

7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.

8 And he that will contend against the word of the Lord, let him be accursed; and he that shall deny these things, let him be accursed; for unto them will I show no greater things, saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh.

verse 8 This verse implies that even after the onset of the Millennium, after the vision of the brother of Jared shall be made available to the people, there will be those who reject its message.

An alternative interpretation would be that "these things" represent all of the writings in the Book of Mormon, and the Lord has reference not to a time after the onset of the Millennium, but rather to the period of judging and purging just prior to the Millennium as is suggested by the following verse.

9 And at my command the heavens are opened and are shut; and at my word the earth shall shake; and at my command the inhabitants thereof shall pass away, even so as by fire.

verse 9 This is apparently a reference to the pre-millennial purging of the earth.

10 And he that believeth not my words believeth not my disciples; and if it so be that I do not speak, judge ye; for ye shall know that it is I that speaketh, at the last day.

verse 10 The Lord now seems to be speaking of the Book of Mormon-"my words." The "last day" is the final day of judgment. Those who receive the Book of Mormon during their mortal sojourn will have to judge whether or not they will believe it to be a true record. At the "last day" they will know for certain that it is.

11 But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.

verse 11 He that accepts the Book of Mormon will be blessed.

I must mention that it seems almost unfair that those of us in the Church have been given so powerful a witness of eternal truth as is contained in the Book of Mormon. I say unfair because in light of the many scholarly corroborations available to church members today, the Book of Mormon stands as virtually proven to be true. The whole world does not have access to this irrefutable witness. And if the Book of Mormon is true, what does that imply? It implies that Moroni did appear to Joseph Smith and assist him in his preparation for the translation of the book. It implies that Joseph Smith did literally have access to the "gift and power of God" to assist him in the translation. And if he did indeed translate the book by the gift and power of God, then Joseph did indeed see the Father and the Son in the sacred grove. And all of this is indeed the Lord's restored gospel! How blessed we are indeed!!

12 And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me-that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.

verse 12 "whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me" This phrase actually provides us with a definition of the word good, meaning good in its eternal sense.

"I am the Father" We know that Elohim is called Father because he is the father of the spirits of all men including that of Jesus Christ. Christ is the Son because he was sired, both in the preexistence and here on earth by the Father. It is Jesus Christ who is speaking here. See the commentary for Ether 3:14 for a summary of the reasons the Savior refers to himself as "the Father."

"I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world" This statement has profound significance. The light of Christ is broadcast to the immensity of space for all to perceive as they are able. This light gives life to all things and contains all truth. See the important discussion of spiritual light in The Concept of Light in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 15.

13 Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.

14 Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.

verses 13-14 The Lord promises the Gentiles and the house of Israel-indeed, all men that if they will come unto him and accept the Book of Mormon, they will receive even greater knowledge. This knowledge will include, as is made clear from the next verse, "all things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world."

15 Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you-yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel.

verse 15 "when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind" See the discussion of hard-heartedness in the commentary for Alma 10:6.

16 And then shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John be unfolded in the eyes of all the people. Remember, when ye see these things, ye shall know that the time is at hand that they shall be made manifest in very deed.

verse 16 As has been mentioned previously (see the commentary for Ether 3:25), the vision of John the Revelator is expected to be similar to that panoramic vision with which the brother of Jared was favored. When we come to have complete knowledge of these visions, we will realize that the events of which they prophesy have, in fact, occurred, are occurring, or will occur.

17 Therefore, when ye shall receive this record ye may know that the work of the Father has commenced upon all the face of the land.

verse 17 "This record" is the Book of Mormon. "The work of the Father" is the work of gathering (see also 3 Nephi 21:7 and its commentary).

18 Therefore, repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and believe in my gospel, and be baptized in my name; for he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned; and signs shall follow them that believe in my name.

verse 18 "he that believeth not shall be damned" For a brief discussion of what it means to be damned, see the commentary for 2 Nephi 9:24.

"signs shall follow them that believe in my name" Miracles will occur among the believers.

19 And blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day, for he shall be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world. And behold it is I that hath spoken it. Amen.

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