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Come Follow Me (Insights into Moroni 10, December 14-20) – powered by Happy Scribe
Welcome to Book of Mormon Central’s Come Follow Me Insights. Today, the final chapter of the Book of Mormon — Moroni 10. This is a real treat, this final chapter, this concluding capstone to the book where Moroni could have taken any any direction he wanted.
But he chooses to say, “I’m finishing my book.” Remember he said farewell to a couple of times in the past and then he’s come back in and written some more. In this one, it feels like he knows this really is the final farewell.
So he’s going to couch his last teachings within the framework of eight exhortations. So you’ll notice that he introduces these eight exhortations in verse two. He says, and I seal up these records after I have spoken a few words by way of exhortation unto you. And then he opens verse three with Behold I would exhort you. And then verse four as his second exhortation, verse seven, verse eight, verse 18, verse nineteen, twenty seven and thirty.
And so we’re going to to work our way through the chapter, looking at each each one of these exhortations, one at a time. It’s an interesting word. We don’t usually use the word exhortation in our language today, at least in the mostly English speaking world. Really fascinating word. So the core meaning of Exhort is to encourage, to stimulate, to urge. And in particular, I like this word courage where the word core actually means heart.
I want to put heart into your action. And so here he is after this long series of beautiful writings that we’ve been able to review over the year. What’s the most important thing you would say if you were talking to people in the future? I want you to have a heart. I want you to feel encouraged. I want you to be stimulated to go out and act. Go do something to believe. And as we talk through these exhortations that we’re on a list for us, just ask yourself, how is he giving me courage?
How is he asking me to act, to be in step with God, to show my faith by being stimulated and being urged to be focused on the core heart of what really matters is the love of God. So as Tyler goes through this, pay close attention, paid close attention to those exhortations. Excellent. Now let’s jump into the first one to three. Now, I need to I need to make something really clear, there’s there’s been a pattern for years in the church and it’s a good pattern.
So don’t throw it away and don’t think that we’re trying to throw it away here. But the pattern has been this search ponder. And Craig. All associated with the Book of Mormon, so search the Book of Mormon, ponder the book Mormon, pray about the Book Mormon. It’s a good pattern. We have a children’s song in the primary that’s beautiful called Search, Ponder and Pray. Our missionaries encourage this with people who are interacting with the book for the first time.
It’s a great pattern, but let’s look very carefully and closely at the wording that Merlini uses. Start in verse three. Behold, I would exhort you that when you shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God, that you should read them, that you would remember how merciful the Lord has been under the children of men from the creation of Adam, even down until the time that you shall receive these things and ponder it in your hearts.
The power of words is remarkable because if you look at that little word right there, ponder it. You’ll notice what he didn’t write, he didn’t say ponder these things like he did back in the beginning of the verse where he says, you read these things. These things seem to refer to the writings, the teachings, the doctrines of the Book of Mormon. You read these things and as you read them, then you remember how merciful Lord has been under the children of men.
For the creation of Adam, even down until the time that you shall receive these things, so I like to take the time to pass because the first time I really paused to really look at what was said, because as a missionary and like, we want you to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it’s true. Which is part of what is going on here, but there’s a bigger assignment that I’d never paid attention to, so I have given this assignment out to students and I will say I have never met a student who has done the totality, the assignment and listen to what goes on here.
I would that you should remember how merciful the Lord had been under the children and now there’s a time stamp. So remember God’s mercies and begin with the creation of Adam. Even down until the very present moment to really consider that, how long would it really take? To remember every act of mercy God has ever done. From Adam and Eve until now. I don’t think any of us have enough years in our lives to be able to do that, and definitely the Book of Mormon contains many examples of mercy.
The Bible contains many examples of mercy. But the scriptures that we currently have do not contain the totality of all of God’s mercies. There are verses that you have in your life not set in scripture, but they’re nevertheless true. And this is a long assignment. So take seriously that God wants you to know of his mercy. Here’s a factor to consider in this process of all of the attributes of God that Moroni could give us this this extensive homework assignment to ponder, he could have said, ponder how powerful God has been.
Ponder how just he’s been. Ponder the the foreknowledge of God, ponder any of these attributes. It’s interesting. The one that Moroni focuses on is the mercy of God, how merciful God has been unto the children of men all the way down through through time. And then he says and ponder it in your hearts, brothers and sisters, we could be wrong on this. But to me, the it isn’t pointing to ponder the Book of Mormon in general terms.
The it for me is pointing to me, pondering God’s mercy, how kind he is, how long suffering he is, how willing to forgive he is to the children of men, beginning with Adam and Eve all the way down to our day as we’ve been talking. Now, it’s fascinating to add to that this bookend idea. Here we are in the final chapter of the book, Moroni Ten, if you go back to the very beginning of the book.
NEFE standing at the opposite end of the of this incredible book at the very beginning, he finishes up Chapter one, the beginning chapter with verse 20 after talking about the Jews being angry with his father and wanting to cast him out and stone him notices says, But behold, I, Nephi will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he has chosen because of their faith to make them mighty, even under the power of deliverance.
I like the fact that our first in our last prophet book and the entire Book of Mormon. With the mercy of God, not just mercy in general terms, but it’s the mercy of God, it’s it’s this being who has power. He could just smite the earth and it could be destroyed in an instant and be done. But God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, John, three, 16 and 17.
It’s it’s God’s attribute of mercy that seems to be on the mind of Nephi and Varuna at the beginning, in the end, saying all of these stories that we’ve covered, all of these doctrines, all of these teachings in the middle, they’re demonstrating a whole bunch of God’s attributes. But the ones that the one that these two are emphasizing is his mercy. And Moroni wants us to ponder it in our hearts because that pondering changes things because we’re confident, because we’re human beings like you, we’re going through life in a fallen mortal world like you.
Of all the attributes of God that we desperately need. It’s God’s mercy, it’s his willingness to to save us and work with us in spite of our struggles and our weakness and in spite of the weakness of people around us as well. Notice what happens now. Verse four, when you shall receive these things, here comes exhortation. Number two. I would exhort you that you would ask God, the eternal father in the name of Christ if these things are not true.
Notice the way he’s using these things. You’ve now you’ve now seen it three times between verse three and four. Up to this point. He told you when you read these things now in verse four, he started with when you shall receive these things. I would agree that you would ask God, the eternal father in the name of Christ, if these things are not true, seems to be implying he’s he’s talking about the Book of Mormon and all of its teachings.
And by default, the mercy of God is included in that. It’s all it’s all there. And we’re praying about these things that we’ve read. Notice that if you if you go to the grocery store and you get a cake mix, you buy a cake mix. You could pull out the ingredients and you could throw the box away and not pay any attention to it and try to make sense of the ingredients and put something together that would taste good.
Or you could turn to the back of the box and look for the instructions of how to make what’s inside. Taste good and and turn out. The instructions for the cake mix being on the back of the box, the instructions for how to make what’s inside of it turn out the best happened to be on the back of it in the very last chapter. It gives you the instructions and you can choose to follow the instructions or you can say, I don’t need the instructions.
I’m going to do this my way. God prepared the book and he prepared the recipe, so to speak, for how to get the most meaningful taste and flavor out of the book in a symbolic way. You’ll notice the the instructions to be followed here are pretty, pretty clear with the prayer. It’s not flippant. It’s not it’s not something that you just you’re walking down the street and you just cast a casual prayer heavenward. Look through or not.
Notice the qualifiers, if you shall ask, with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. Three things. You have to have that sincere heart, the heart in the right place, not a heart that’s going saying I don’t like this book. I don’t think it’s true. Lord, tell me it’s not true. That’s not following the instructions on the back of the box, so to speak, sincere heart means that you want to know what God knows.
You’re not trying to tell God what you already know or you’re not trying to force an answer that you you anticipate for your own purposes, whatever those purposes may be, sincere heart, real intent. The intent is that this is not simply a curiosity question. This is a question that is going to engage you and your agency to get you to change, to act differently, that you’re going to walk away a different person based on the answers. So the sincere heart, the real intent, it means God, if the answer is true, then I’m going to need to change some things.
I’m going to I’m going to need to live differently. I’m going to have to get on the covenant path and press forward on that covenant path and and have done with lesser things, so to speak, in life. And notice the last requirement here. The other ingredient, faith in Christ. If I leave out any one of those ingredients, it’s like trying to bake a cake without one of the three major ingredients. It’s not going to work. You can have perfect proportions on the other two, but you’ve got to have all three of them for it to be complete.
I have to trust the Christ is the source of of all truth, not the world’s experts, not the detractors, not the people who have opinions one way or the other. This is between me and God, nobody else. I love what Madonna is doing here. She’s stripping away all of the world’s experts, so to speak, and saying, don’t take my word for it, don’t take anybody’s word for it except for God’s, go to him.
And here’s how to approach him. Now you’ll notice. You’ll notice that you’re approaching what kind of a god. Its first was preceded by verse three, it’s a God who is merciful, it’s a God who’s been so kind and so giving and so gracious with so many people from the beginning of time down to us. He’s setting the stage to increase our faith, to go to God, saying, wait, he will do this now. Brothers and sisters, there’s something powerful here.
I don’t think that Moroni intended this to be a one shot experience. I don’t think that you have up to this point in our English Book of Mormon, five hundred and twenty nine pages of scripture and you’ll notice it’s after five hundred and twenty nine pages that Merlini says now. Now, go and ask God if these things are not true. If I work my way through five hundred and twenty nine pages of this book. And I get to the end and he he reminds me to ponder God’s mercy and his goodness, and then he says, by the way, you want to ask if these things are not true, if I’ve been working my way through this many pages.
And I then kneel down with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ. You can see why Moroni is so absolutely certain with the outcome. If you’ve done this, he says, look at the wording, he will circle the word will. It’s not he might he’s prone to he’s likely to it’s he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. But I don’t know how much the promise is, sure, if we treat it flippantly, if we just say I want to work through through the book, I just want to know if it’s true or false.
And so here we go again with these true false tests where we want God to do most of the work. We want to just go take no thought, save it, be to ask him. Just say, is it true or false? I just want to know. Then he’s doing most of the work versus saying. Perhaps one of the most important questions I could be asking right here. Isn’t culminating with is the book true or false? Perhaps this question in verse four is an object lesson for my whole life, for my very existence, for the work that I’m willing to put in to the process of discipleship on the covenant path.
Brothers, sisters, the real true false question is much less about the book, and it’s a whole bunch more about my soul, am I true or am I false to the truth that is contained in this book, including recognizing God’s mercy? Because if I’m true, which is this, then he’ll manifest the truth of the book to me, no problem. But if I’m not true, if I’m false in any of these, then I’m going to go through life struggling, doubting, being a skeptic, looking for alternative explanations for how he got the book or for why Joseph was able to produce five hundred and thirty one pages of incredibly rich, doctrinally deep scripture.
And it’s going to be confusing. So our invitation to us as well as to you. Is to put a lot of focus on me passing the test of true false, not just continually putting the book or the church or the prophet or the prophets or other people to the true false test, but holding myself to the true false test, because then all these other true false tests are going to naturally flow very, very smoothly. This is such an exciting invitation.
We realize how much agency God has empowered us with that it is our choice to choose to follow him. Let’s just talk for just a minute about these words and then review what the word mercy additional meaning is the word mercy so sincere comes from. That’s not exactly sure. But we our best sense as it comes from the word same or one and growth, which is interesting. Are you willing to grow in unity? Without being divided up, kind of interesting word, real intent, the word underlying this means to hold so in means to put something in.
So are you willing to really hold in your your effort real intent is all about? Are you willing to not let go of what is true? And of course, faith in Christ is it’s not faith in men and women, it’s not faith in the natural order of things might be good. It’s focusing on the one thing that matters and it’s Christ. Let’s talk just a moment more about the word mercy, because as we look very carefully here at these verses where Moroni wants us to have a shore witness of God’s mercy, these things that Moroni and other prophets are preserved are all witness of God’s mercy.
Now, it’s an interesting word. It actually shows up all over the scriptures and let me show you some examples from the all the New Testament where the key theses in the Old Testament is also God’s mercy. We often miss that. But let me show you other words that show up in the Old New Testament that if we translated Mercy back into the Hebrew, it’s probably this Hebrew word said it actually means mercy, but it actually shows up, as other words, in the New Testament.
And this word, when you see it, well, actually, what it shows up in the Old Testament often gets translated into other words, lovingkindness or just kindness, goodness, kindly, merciful Favre. All of these are attributes of God. And as Tyler was saying earlier, this is probably the most important attribute that God wants us to know about. It’s what he’s asking us to know about him. No surprise, these words are all covenantal words when these words show up in scripture.
They all refer to God’s covenant with us. That he has covenanted to our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, many others. But he will be merciful, that he’ll be kind to us, so when you see these words, you will know the quality of God that you can fully trust. But you can also know that these words also point to his unbreakable covenant that he has made with us. He’s asked us to be in covenant, and sometimes we struggle to be faithful to that.
But what’s interesting is that God will never break his covenant, ever. And so any time you see these words, it’s also a reminder that God is ultimately and totally and finally and fully true and faithful. And that’s why I love this word mercy. And I do think. If I only had to use one word to describe God. It would be tested, so I think to some some this section up, we could do that very simply by saying when upon life Spillers, you were tempest tossed, when you’re discouraged, thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done. Kind of ties into maroney’s invitation of pondering God’s mercy, everything in the rest of this chapter is going to show us God’s merciful attributes. His his has said the attribute of that loving kindness look a verse five by the power of the Holy Ghost. You may know the truth of all things you. I want to circle the word all its over time that the power of the Holy Ghost is going to help us come to know the truth of all things.
And as Jesus taught in the Gospel of John, when you know the truth, the truth will set you free. Then you find real, real power. Let’s go to the third exhortation in verse seven, and you may know that he is by the power of the Holy Ghost. Wherefore I would exhort you that you deny not the power of God, for he work by power according to the faces of children of men. The same today and tomorrow and forever.
So that third exhortation is just a simple statement of of us not denying God’s power and his is unchangeable nature moving forward. Verse eight, here’s the forth exhortation, I would exhort again, I exhort you, my brother, and the E Denine, not the gifts of God for their many and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered, but it is the same God who work us all in all, and they are given by the manifestations of the spirit of God and to men to profit them.
And then he goes through this list of gifts, the gift to teach the word of wisdom, the gift to teach the word of knowledge by the same spirit, exceedingly great faith, healing, working, mighty miracles, the gift of prophecy, ministering spirits, all kinds of tongues and the interpretation of tongues. You can cross-reference this little section here with First Corinthians, Chapter 12 and Doctrine and Covenants Section forty six, because these are the three places in Scripture to give you these lists.
And they’re not they’re not exact. They’re not the same. They they share some similar gifts of the spirit, but each one of them will add some unique elements. I would also add that there are other gifts of the spirit that sometimes get overlooked. Many years ago in general conference, October nineteen eighty seven, General Conference elder Marvin Geston gave a talk called There Are Many Gifts. Let me just give you one paragraph out of that talk. He says, let us review some of these less conspicuous gifts.
The gift of asking, the gift of listening, the gift of hearing and using a still small voice, the gift of being able to weep, the gift of avoiding contention, the gift of being agreeable. The gift of avoiding the repetition, the gift of seeking that which is righteous. The gift of not passing judgment. The gift of looking to God for guidance. The gift of being a disciple. The gift of caring for others. The gift of being able to ponder the gift of offering prayer, the gift of bearing a mighty testimony, and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.
That’s just a small list of these less conspicuous gifts that elder Ashton pointed out clear back in nineteen eighty seven. The point being, we have heavenly parents who have endowed us with their own attributes and capacities and abilities to one degree or another. And sometimes if you don’t have one of these really big ones, then you end up looking at people around you. And in the comparison you feel like you don’t measure up and you feel inadequate and you feel like you’re never going to be as good as her and never going to be as good as him or have the capacities that that group has.
It’s not helpful if you if you can go to God and ask in faith with real intent, if you can go to your patriarchal blessing, if you can go to loved ones and ask them what gifts of the spirit they’ve recognized in you, then you can stop comparing yourself and start using the gifts that God has uniquely given you to help build up the kingdom of God on the Earth from your capacity, because notice verse seventeen, all these gifts come by the spirit of Christ and they come onto the market every man severally, according as he will the word severally.
They’re separately, individually. So every unique person gets a gift or gifts from the spirit of Christ, according as Christ will. And it would be really silly to say to the savior that he messed up and didn’t give you the right gift because he knows what he’s doing. Let’s go to exaltation number five, verse 18, I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, to remember that every good gift cometh of Christ. Every good thought, every good deed, every good capacity comes from Christ.
Now we jump into exaltations six, verse 19. And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that you remember, that he is the same yesterday, today and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand only according to the unbelief of the children of men. It’s interesting if you want to see a decrease in gifts of the spirit than just.
Decrease your faith. Stop believing that God gives good gifts, and he says it will be basically a self-fulfilling prophecy, you will see a decrease in gifts and a decrease in miracles if we decrease our faith first 20. Wherefore there must be faith. And if there must be faith, there must also be hope. And if there must be hope, there must also be charity. Going back to his father’s talk in Merlini Chapter seven at Great Talk on Faith, Hope and Charity and accept you have charity can and always be saved in the Kingdom of God.
Neither can you be saved in the Kingdom of God. If you have not faith, neither can you. If you have no hope after all three and if you have no hope, you must needs be in despair. And despair comes because of inequity. But once again, we have a merciful God. We have a God who’s willing to forgive, a God who’s willing to work with us as we struggle to move forward. Look now at verse twenty seven and I exhort you to remember these things for the times speedily come up that you shall know that I lie.
Not for ye shall see me at the bar of God and the Lord God will send to you. Did not did I not declare my words unto you which were written by this man like has one crying from the dead even as one speaking out of the dust. Brothers and sisters, there are a lot of theories out in the world regarding how we got the book Mormon. There are there are some who would prefer to see the Book of Mormon as a 19th century production inspired historical fiction, if you will.
Can I just say that? And in fictional works, you don’t usually get a character in those stories reaching up through the pages, grabbing you by the shirt front, pulling you in, saying. I’m going to be standing face to face with you at the bar of God, we’re going to see each other and God on that day is going to say, didn’t I declare my word on to you through the words of this man right here? That’s not worded very much like a fictional character.
I want to make it really clear here. The more I have read the Book of Mormon, the more I’ve come to know and love God, but it doesn’t stop there. The reason I’ve come to know one love God and to recognize Christ and to feel the influence of the Holy Ghost in my life is through the lives of these real people, beginning with Lihi and Saraya and Nephi and Sam and Laman and Lemuel and all of that group coming all the way down through these now.
Five hundred and thirty one pages. These people have become my friends, so to speak. They’ve become real to me, not in a in a made up way, but I’ve come to know them and to recognize their personalities better. And they’ve taught me they’ve influenced me. They’ve they’ve truly been my friends because a friend is one who encourages you and invites you and strengthens you and helps you move forward on the covenant path. That’s a true friend and that’s what all of these people have become to me.
So when I when I get ready to close the book again for the who knows how many times. As I get ready to bid farewell to Moroni, there’s a sense of gratitude in my heart to these people who gave their life not just to survive in their own time, but to record their thoughts and to follow the directions of the Holy Ghost so that they can benefit you and me today. So many years later. I love I love this section, the seventh exhortation, knowing there will be a day when I will get to see Moroni and I’ll get to see NEFE.
He told us he would see us too, and these other prophets and their families and thank them for the influence they had on my life and on the life of my family because of the sacrifices they made to get us this book. From from so long ago and so far removed from our own our own environment. Notice first twenty eight, I declare these things under the fulfilling the prophecies and behold, they shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the everlasting God and his words shall his force from generation to generation.
And God shall shown to you that that which I have written is true. This is coming from the stylus of a guy who is all alone. He’s been all alone for at least 20 years and up to thirty six years. And he’s saying, I got nobody else to back me up on this. I’ve got no family or friends who can say to you, yes, maroney’s telling you the truth. So he’s relying on the only witness that he does have, which is God.
And he’s saying and God will show you that which I’ve written is true. He’s not going to leave me hanging here. Look over 30. Here’s our final exhortation and again, I would exhort you that you would come unto Christ and lay hold upon every good gift and touch, not the evil gift nor the unclean thing. And awaken arise from the dust of Jerusalem day and put on my beautiful garments. So Daughter of Zion, and strengthen the stakes and enlarge the borders forever that they’ll miss no more be confounded.
Are you noticing there that we’re quoting Isaiah 50 to yet again? This this concept of a week arise from the dust, put on beautiful garments, take off the beggarly dirty dust filled garments that that this mortality invites us to put on get up, rise up, put on beautiful garments. Isaiah, 52, has been quoted in the Book of Mormon more than I think any other Isaiah passage. It just keeps coming up this merciful God inviting you to change and put on these beautiful garments.
Now, just a really quick Greek lesson for you. And I understand completely that the Book of Mormon isn’t translated from Greek. It’s translated from a Hebrew speaking people who are writing in reformed Egyptian. I get that. But in a Greek New Testament context, when you get these words put on, they come from the Greek word and duo. And Jewel looks an awful lot like and that’s that’s what it is to endow well and do means to put on a sacred garment or to sink into a sacred garment or to be closed in a sacred garment.
So and duo means to be endowed. And all an endowment is to put on a sacred. Garment. Now, you’ll notice this coming in a New Testament context when Paul says, put on the whole armor of God in the Greek, it’s in doubt yourself, in the whole armor of God. Put it on. And then he goes through the different elements of that armor, that clothing, that sacred clothing that isn’t metal like a medieval knight. He tells you we’re battling not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, kingdoms and thrones and all these other things that these powers of darkness that are coming at us.
So this put on the whole armor of God. And in Paul’s context, is he showing you what is involved with being closed and with the robe of righteousness, so to speak? Now look at this context. Look at verse 31 again, once again from Isaiah Awaken arise from the dust of Jerusalem. Yay! And get endowed in the beautiful garments put on by beautiful garments of Jerusalem. It’s cast off the clothing of the world and put on the armor of light in another place.
Paul says, Put on Christ. It’s the endowment and the clothing elements of the endowment are simply symbols of Jesus Christ himself and his power, or does that take us? That takes us back to Adam and Eve when they were found naked in the Garden of Eden. The very first thing that that we have record of happening at that point is the savior Jesus Christ. Creating coats of skins or making coats of skins for them to. Have them put them on to endow them, to cover their nakedness, to close them, a lamb of God is sent to die.
So that I can be covered, so that you can be clothed, so that we can be endowed with power, so that we aren’t naked and exposed to the law, to the consequences of all of our foolish decisions and our poor uses of agency. Cance, here’s this great prophet Moroni. He spent a lot of time alone. He spent a lot of time pondering God’s goodness. He spent a lot of time pondering and seeking truth and reading how many how many records.
And he knows what he’s talking about, so you’ll notice his final exhortation here, number eight started with come onto Christ. There’s no other way. There is no other solution. There’s no other path that can lead to to enduring joy. It’s only through Christ. Now, look at verse thirty two. He repeats it. Yeah, come onto Christ and be perfected in him. Oh, I love this. I love the fact that Maroney didn’t say get perfect.
And once you figured that out then you’re now worthy to come onto Christ. He didn’t do that. He said, come on to Christ. Step one, come to Christ and be perfected in him. There are many when I was a missionary who would say, oh, I can’t I can’t get baptized because I’m not I’m not perfect. Brothers and sisters, the message of our missionaries to the world isn’t as soon as you’re perfect. Then as soon as you’ve had faith in Christ, repetitive all your sins and you’re now perfect, you have no more problems.
Now you’re worthy to come to the waters of baptism. The message of our missionaries is come. Bring with you all the struggles and a broken heart and a country spirit with trust that God, that’s what faith in Christ is in this context, is his ability to take my imperfection and work with it through mercy. You’ve all had relationships with other people where it drives you crazy because some people just keep doing the same thing, that annoys you over and over and over again and you think, oh, are they ever going to change?
And sometimes the answer is no, they don’t. And we’re not very good at the long suffering thing. But as you cast your thoughts and your hearts heavenward, I hope you can picture heavenly parents in a savior who are looking down at you with smiles on their face. It’s much the same as parents of a little toddler, and we’ve talked about this before in a previous episode many months ago, but can you picture parents holding a little child? On that first day when that child is going to take its first steps unaided.
And either mom or dad, let’s go, and the little child starts walking towards the other parent and then falls down. Can you picture the parents looking at each other saying, oh, no? She’s broken. He’s never going to be able to walk, he’s never going to get this, he’s flawed. None of you can picture that what you can picture instead is parents who go and pick that child up and she falls again and they pick her up and she falls again.
And she falls again. But eventually she stops falling, you can picture a savior who says, I know your propensity to fall, I know your desires to be able to walk. I know that you want to be good. And I’m going to work with that desire, with your trust in me, with your faith in me. And I’m going to work with you on this process of learning how to walk on the covenant path without falling over and over, because every time you do fall, his invitation is the same.
It’s back in verse thirty one a week and arise from the dust put on beautiful garments. Let’s try this again. Let’s move forward. Notice, he says, verse 32 continuing after saying Come to Christ and be perfected in him and deny yourselves vollen godliness and if you shall deny yourselves of all and godliness and love God with all your might mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you that by his grace, you may be perfect in Christ?
Now, pause for a minute. Are you noticing that Moroni keeps giving you these formulas two or three or four things that need to be included in whatever it is that you’re doing here? He did it again. You have to love God with all your might mind and strength. Isn’t that fascinating that God doesn’t want your heart or your heart and your mind split? He wants all of it. He wants you to use your best thinking, he wants you to use your best strength, all of your might, then is his grace sufficient for you that you may be perfect in Christ?
I notice he goes on to say, if by the grace of God you’re perfect in Christ, you can in no ways deny the power of God. Now notice verse thirty three again. If you, by the grace of God, are perfect in Christ and deny not his power, then are you sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father and the remission of your sins, that you become holy.
Without spot, that is an indication of sanctification, without a single spot, pure sanctified in every way, shape and form, he has changed our very nature. Isn’t that a neat promise to strive for that? You’ve allowed Christ to change your heart, to change your mind, to focus your mind and your will and your strength on on building his kingdom rather than building your own or seeking your own desires, appetites and passions. And now he finishes with one of the greatest close closing statements of any book anywhere I’ve said before, I think the Book of Mormon opens with the best opening verse of any opening to any book anywhere.
Well, I’m going to say the same thing about its closing verse. Thirty four is amazing. Now I bid unto all farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God until my spirit and body shall again reunite and I am brought forth triumphant through the air to meet you before the pleasing bar of the Great Jehovah. Eternal judge of both quick and dead, and then that’s very odd coming from Moroni sometime after her, sometime around eighty four, twenty one, that he would refer to the Lord as Jehovah.
Just for context, the name Jehova is an interesting one, because in the Old Testament Hebrew, you have the name of God in the Old Testament YHWH. It’s the unspeakable name. You’re not allowed to see it. Nobody can see it. It’s too sacred except for. You get the high priest who says the name one time of year, it’s on the the 10th day of the seventh month, it’s Yom Kippur day of Atonement, when the high priest would go into the holy of holies, he would whisper the name of God while in the holy of holies in isolation.
One guy, one place once a year would get to see the name. But other than that, the general people would never pronounce it. And so the interesting thing is when people like William Tyndale started translating the Bible into English, they kept coming across this sacred name of God. It’s called the Tetragrammaton, the four four letter name of God. And he didn’t quite know how to put it into English, so what does he do? He takes the vowels from the Hebrew name or the Hebrew title Adonai, which means the Lord.
And he takes the vowel sounds and he puts them in between the consonants for the tetragrammaton and the Y has a J equivalents pronounced with the sound. And the W and the V can be interchangeable. What you end up with is William Tyndale inventing the name or coining the name Jehovah or Hova in the early fifteen hundreds to represent this unspeakable name of the God of the Old Testament. Well. Jehovah is a name invented in the early fifteen hundreds. This book is being finalized by Moroni in 420 twenty one and it’s almost like.
Moron, I would have probably written that not the not the 15. It’s possible it’s possible he could have written the 15 hundreds name, but he’s writing this this name that is so sacred that it’s only uttered by the high priest once a year on Yom Kippur, which comes in the fall time every year. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught in the Book of Mormon, is such that the older I get and the more I learn and the more I dig down and discover, discover the depth and the breadth of this book.
The more I realize that it’s deeper and broader than I ever thought before, it’s a gift that just keeps on giving it, I can’t find the end of it. This is one of those examples where. Maroney, finishing the book in his last verse, tells us that he’s going to meet us triumphant through the air before the bar of the great Jehova, and he uses the name that is the unspeakable name from the Old Testament. And yet. It’s the only time in the entire Book of Mormon where a new world book Mormon author uses the word the only other time the word Jehovah or the name Jehovah appears in the book.
Mormon is clear. Back in second if a chapter twenty twenty two from Isaiah 12. So that’s NEFE copying the tetragrammaton from the the Breastplates, no other Book of Mormon prophet uses the name Jehovah. And here we are in the very last verse, Moroni Izi sealing up the book, he’s giving us a solemn invitation to come into the presence of God. That’s what he told you. We’ll meet you before the bar of the Great Jehovah. He’s inviting us, it’s as if he’s parting the veil through the corridor of time, he’s told us before I see your day, I see your doings, I know what you’re doing.
And now he’s going forward. It’s as if he’s parting the veil, saying, come with me, come into the holy of holies. I’m inviting you into the presence of God with me. That brothers and sisters for me is what this book does is it invites me into the presence of God symbolically and ultimately and in a literal sense, we’re going to be introduced there. The Book of Mormon is full of beautiful spiritual surprises in the book ends on this word that is so familiar to us.
We almost never think about it, the very last word of the Book of Mormon is Ayman. You may think, well, that’s exactly how you should end when we end prayers, we say amen. When we intox we say amen. That’s just how we say the end. In fact, in the English version of the Book of Mormon, you’ll see the ed in English father below. But the word amen does not mean the end. Let me right out for you, the meaning of the Hebrew word amen actually comes from the Hebrew word amond, and I want to write out a number of words in English that get translated from the Hebrew word Amon.
And I do this because. It’s important to understand what Mirana is trying to communicate when he concludes the book with this word. And again, no surprise, this is a covenantal word, it has a covenantal meaning about God’s faithfulness and his expectation for our faithfulness. So here are things to understand. This word, Imman, that we see so often actually has an enormous range of meaning that if you look at all these phrases that show up in scripture and if you translate them and look at the underlying Hebrew, they all go back to the word a man or woman.
It needs to be built up to support, to be firm, to be faithful, to trust or trusting assurance, believe, steadfast, verified, continue steadfastness. Sure. So you think about the last word that Merlini uses. And the meaning of that word contains all this beauty, and it’s all about the covenant that God has made to involve us in his love to invite you as you conclude this round of studying with the Book of Mormon, that you think about God’s mercy, you think about his covenant, you think about how he has been trustworthy.
And he asked us to trust him. He asked us to believe in him. He asked you to be steadfast in the truth, tells us to be firm and to be faithful. And whenever you use the word amen, you are declaring your covenantal faithfulness and assurance that you believe the words of truth that have just been declared to you and that you will live them and own them and be part of those words so that you may experience the fullness of God’s love.
And now. We come to to the end. Of another experience going through five hundred and thirty one pages of my favorite book of all time, anywhere I want to I want us to finish where we began their. With a quote from President Azu Tough Bensen regarding the power of the book. He was the prophet who back in the 80s helped bring this book out of out of obscurity and make it become such an integral part of of our worship and of our learning.
He said there is a power in the book that will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of it. He didn’t say it was down the road. He said start a serious study of it and you’ll feel the power of this book. I once had a student teacher years ago when I was a seminary priest trainer who shared this thought with me. He said I I taught my students what is the most powerful place in the Book of Mormon.
I wonder where you’re going with this. I thought, oh, he’s probably going to say thirty five, 11 or maybe seventy five. Nine or seventy five. Thirty one or thirty two or one of the famous big chapters. And he surprised me. He said the most powerful place in the book, Mormon, is whatever page you’re reading right now. Because there is that kind of ability for God to bless your life with his mercy through the words of this incredible book.
Now, in closing, I want you to know that I know that this book is true. It was written by prophets who saw our day, who were inspired on what to include inspired and what not to include inspired on how to include the things that they did and order them in the way that they did. And this book has changed my life and it continues to change my life and I continue to be in awe of God’s mercy, his merits and his grace through the through the powerful teachings that come from this book.
I’d also like to share my simple witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. And it is this. The Book of Mormon is the most doctrinally truthful, literarily beautiful and everlastingly applicable book the world has ever seen. Thank you for spending some time with us. As we’ve explored this great book this year, we pray that the Lord’s richest blessings will be upon you as you continue to move forward in faith on this covenant path and as you seek to come to Christ and be perfected in him.
And we believe that with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.