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Book of Mormon Sunday School Lesson 46: “By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled” (Ether 7-15)

Posted by NathanG on December 3, 2008

Here is the link to Jim F’s notes, which focuses on Ether chapter 12 and the discussion on faith.

The lesson covers many generations of history which is a continual cycle of wickedness, secret combinations, destruction, and righteousness.

The selection of Jaredite kings is often a son born late in the life of the father.  Why is this?  The first king was Orihah, but he was not the first choice of the people to be king.  The first choice was the brother of Jared’s firstborn, but he refused, as did all of the brother of Jared’s sons, and all of Jared’s sons except Orihah.  How is this similar or different from the patriarchs? to the “birthright” model that was not followed closely with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph?  with the Nephites?  Why is it noteworthy in these instances when the eldest is not the chosen leader? 

The brother of Jared feared that having a king would lead the people into captivity, but Jared said that they should allow it.  Everyone refuses except Orihah.  Was there something wrong with Jared or Orihah in this thing?  Orihah walked humbly before the Lord.  Is there something inherently wrong with wanting to be a king?  Is the Book of Mormon really anti-king? or do we misinterpret the discussion about kings?  Remember Mosiah said a king is good if he is righteous.  Christ is the King of Kings. 

Ether 8:5.  Very few details are given of the history of this people; why was it significant to mention that Jared’s brothers (not the “brother of Jared) gave him battle by night?

After Jared’s defeat, his daughter persuades him to call for Akish, and after she dances for him, he desires her to be his wife to the point that he is willing to kill his friend Omer (Jared’s father the king) so he can marry the daughter.  This is the beginning of secret combinations among the Jaredites.  Secret combinations were formed and kept “in darkness” to help gain power, murder, plunder, lie, and commit all manner of wickedness and whoredoms.  Moroni interjects that secret combinations cause the destruction of the Jaredites and Nephites and any nation that upholds secret combinations will be destroyed.  Further this is given to the gentiles that they may recognize this evil, repent, and “suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you” and “when ye shall see these things come among you that he shall awake to a sense of your awful situation”.  This is a pretty strong warning to the gentiles, which seems to be us.  What is the reality of secret combinations today?  Are we close to destruction?  Is the nation at risk of destruction?  Is the church at risk?  What leads a people to embrace secret combinations?

Omer is led away by a dream and Jared becomes king and Akish gets the girl.  Akish then seeks the life of his father in law and that portion of the nation self-destructs.  The comment is made that “so great had been the spreading of this wicked and secret society that it had corrupted the hearts of all the people”.  If our nation or church is safe from destruction today, how long would it take to change things?  This generation goes on to fight against itself until they are nearly completely destroyed.  Again, how fast can things change?  How can we protect ourselves from becoming part of this wickedness?

Omer finishes his days in peace followed by Emer, Coriantum, and Com leading the people in righteousness.  This turns out to be a similar length of time of the righteousness the Nephites enjoyed after Christ visited them.  The description of these people suggests industry and prosperity.  This seems to be about the longest period of righteousness among the Jaredites.  Is it discouraging that it didn’t last, or encouraging to see that there are periods of time when the people as a whole are righteous?  Is part of the purpose of Ether to show the contrast between righteous prosperity through labor and industry and wicked “prosperity” through secret combinations.

Ether 12 and 13 are a combination of Ether’s words and Moroni’s expounding on his words.  In Ether 13 there is much discussion about the New Jerusalem, this land being a land of promise, and the house of Israel and the old Jerusalem.  

Is there significance in the details that Ether hid in the cavity of a rock and that he observed the destruction of the people by night?

Ether 14:1-2 discusses the curse on the land and how people could not keep their possessions.  Does this mean that somehow God changes the land so that people lose their possessions?  Is this a reflection of how extensive the secret combinations or robbers were within the society?  Is this similar or different to the Nephites’ curse on the land? 

Ether describes the final days of the Jaredites and then finishes his record with “Whether the Lord will that I be translated, or that I suffer the will of the Lord in the flesh, it mattereth not, if it so be that I am saved in the kingdom of God.”  This seems to be a good example of how to keep an eternal perspective and not get lost in the details that don’t matter in the end.

6 Responses to “Book of Mormon Sunday School Lesson 46: “By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled” (Ether 7-15)”

  1. Robert C. said

    I’m really fascinated by this parallel rise of the slipperiness of hiding treasures up in earth and the secret combinations in both Ether and Helaman….

    Joe, or Kim, if you’re reading, do you have thoughts to share from your recent in-depth study of Helaman?

  2. NathanG said

    Robert,
    One interesting point between the two nations is found in Samuel’s prophesying in Helaman 13. The early part of the chapter talks about cursed treasure that is hid up in the earth, and the only treasure that will be safe is treasrue hid up unto the Lord. I thought that was odd, but then I thought of a treasure that was hid in a hillside for 1400 years or so until Joseph Smith came and retrieved it. Later, Samuel says they will sorrow when they find that if they lay a tool down one day, the next day it is gone. I can imagine thieves playing a role in both situations. The language in Ether seems similar.

  3. NathanG said

    This talk about Nephites and Jaredites has made me wonder about parallels bewteen the two nations, or at least their records.

    Joe has explained how 1 and 2 Nephiis an endowment-like text on previous post. The brother of Jared’s experience is also very endowment like. Both culture build ships or barges not after the manner of men, but as God instructs. Each choose a government of kings which troubles the initial leaders, but they reluctantly allow kings. Both have stories of kings leading their people into great wickedness (although the Jaredite’s history has more examples). Both nations are undermined by secret combinations, and in both instances, Mormon and Moroni make a point of saying that secret combinations are the cause of the downfall of both nations. Each has a period of peace lasting 250-300 years or so. During the Jaredites period of peace, one of the kings is even visited by Christ. The story of each nation ends with devastating battles.

    Some interesting overlaps in the stories. Limhi’s people returned with the Jaredite records which were found in the land called Desolation by the Nephites, but was near the capitol of the Jaredite’s, the land Moron. After Mosiah translates the Jaredite plates (which is after his sons have left for their missionary work) the model of government is changed from kings to judges.

    Mormon leads the Nephites through several years of his life, but stops after the Nephites successfully defend the land of Desolation repeatedly, and then desire to go and attack the Lamanites.

    Omer is the Jaredite king who escapes the initial plot from secret combinations. He is led into a land called Ablom, which is where the Nephites were destroyed. He then lives in peace in this place until Akish and his people (those who support secret combinations) destroy each other, nearly to the last man.

  4. Robert C. said

    Nathan, great parallels! I hope you’re writing a book to flesh out the details….

  5. deweyolsen said

    I found a Wonderful site on Isaiah!
    http://www.isaiahexplained.com/
    The site has free lessons on every chapter.
    Very well done and in the author’s own voice.
    Every Isaiah Chapter has the Analytical Commentary of Isaiah. Enjoy this personable verse-by-verse commentary of Isaiah by well-known Hebrew scholar Avraham Gileadi.

    “Dr. Gileadi is the only LDS scholar I know of who is thoroughly competent to teach the words of Isaiah”—Professor Hugh Nibley, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. (1. 6. 2003)

    “It is my testimony that this man has been brought forward and trained at this time to help those inside the Church into Isaiah, and those outside the Church, Jew and Gentile, through Isaiah into the Church” —Arthur Henry King, author, former BYU professor and London
    Temple President.

    “Dr. Gileadi has achieved a major breakthrough in the investigation of a book of such complexity and importance as the Book of Isaiah”—Professor David Noel Freedman, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    “Dr. Gileadi’s work will render obsolete almost all the speculations of Isaiah scholars over the last one hundred years . . . enabling scholarship to proceed along an entirely new line . . . opening new avenues of approach for others to follow”—Professor Roland K. Harrison, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada.

    “Only one who is truly at home not only with the Hebrew but with the ancient manner of biblical thought could have produced such an insightful and ground-breaking book”—Professor S. Douglas Waterhouse, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

    “Avraham Gileadi’s unsealing of the Book of Isaiah will forever change people’s
    understanding of Judeo-Christian religion, lifting it to heights hitherto known only to prophets and saints”—Arie Noot, corporate executive, Edmond, Oklahoma.

    “Isaiah Decoded is a huge breakthrough for the seeker of truth—Jew, Christian, Moslem, and agnostic. From an ancient writing, Gileadi has brought to light eternal truths about the nature of God and our relationship to him that have lain buried for centuries in the dust of time”—Guy Wins, fifth-generation Jewish diamond dealer from Antwerp, Belgium.

    “Gileadi is the only scholar I know who has been able to express the Jewish expectation of the Messiah in relation to the life and mission of Jesus of Nazareth”—Daniel Rona, Israeli tour guide, Jerusalem, Israel.

    “Dr. Gileadi has clearly demonstrated his mastery of the Book of Isaiah and of the scholarly literature dealing with it”—Professor Ronald Youngblood, Bethel Theological Seminary, San Diego, California.

    “Avraham Gileadi’s books and tapes take the casual observer of Isaiah’s words and transform him into an enlightened and lifelong student of the Word of God”—Allan and Nancy Pratt, LDS mission president, Toulouse, France.

    “Dr. Gileadi has awakened a whole new depth of my understanding of Isaiah’s prophetic message. His books and tapes illuminate the urgent relevance of Isaiah’s writings to our own day”—Becky Douglas, supervisor and sponsor of three orphanages in India, Atlanta, Georgia.

    “Dr. Gileadi’s translation [of the Book of Isaiah] is clear and smooth, allowing the reader to appreciate the power and beauty of Isaiah as conveyed in the Hebrew original”—Professor Herbert M. Wolf, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

    “Gileadi has uncovered an amazing message written in a divine code by the prophet–poet Isaiah. This will give comfort, hope, and joy to masses of people as they cope with the perplexing events now unfolding before their eyes”—Fenton Tobler, thirty years elementary school principle, Las Vegas, Nevada.

  6. Zack said

    The reference to treasures being hid up in the earth, I believe is a reference to the futile efforts we may try to place in having Faith in the Arm of Flesh and the material things of life that we believe will grant us the security we need, above that which can provide Spiritual security.

    I agree with Dewy in his above comments. The Greatest Spiritual security we can find as far as a record that was intended to bring us Light & Knowledge for our time, is found in the Book of Isaiah. And as Dewy points out…Avraham Gileadie’s work in this area is pricless in our gaining an understanding of the Lord’s message to us.

    Surely the Lord did not emphasize the importance of UNDERSTANDING the Words of Isaiah and include them in two Books of scripture and quote from it in all of our scriptures, for no good reason.

    Once you come to discover the real message of Isaiah, your life will never be the same…Follow the advice of Dewy’s recommendation to read Gileadi’s Work and make your own determination through prayer.

    And I would give the Lord’s advice that we come to KNOW these things, as being something that is VITAL to our Salvation. Now I understand WHY…

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