Book of Mormon (Plain English Version)/Jacob
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Jacob is given charge of the plates... (compare Jacob, chapter 1)
In the year 545 BC, fifty-five years after Lehi's group had left Jerusalem, my older brother Nephi gave me, Jacob, a commandment regarding the small plates, upon which these words are engraved.
He told me to write only a few things on these small plates--things that I thought were most precious. He told me to include only a little history of his people, the people of Nephi. He said the history of his people should be engraved on his large plates.
Nephi told me to preserve all these plates and hand them down from generation to generation. He also told me to engrave any sacred preaching, great revelations and prophesying, and to engrave as much of this as possible for Christ and our people.
Because of our faith in the Lord and great concern for our people, we had been shown what would happen to them. We also had many revelations and the spirit of prophecy, and we knew about Christ and His kingdom that would come.
We worked very hard among our people to persuade them to come to Christ and to enjoy God's goodness, that they might someday enter into His rest. Otherwise, God would vow in His anger that they would not enter, just as He did when the children of Israel fell into temptation in the wilderness.
We hope with God's help we might persuade all people not to rebel against Him--not to provoke His anger, but to believe in Christ, who would suffer and die on the cross while bearing the shame of the world.
Because of these desires, I, Jacob, take it upon myself to fulfill the commandment from my brother Nephi.
When Nephi was old and realized that he would soon die, he anointed a man to be king and ruler over his people as the people had desired.
The people loved Nephi very much, for he had been their great protector, defending them with Laban's sword, and he had worked for their temporal and spiritual welfare all his life.
Because they loved him so much, the people wanted to remember his name. So they decided that whoever reigned from then on would be called Nephi--second Nephi, third Nephi, etc., according to the reign of the kings.
Those who reigned as king from then on were known as Nephi, and not by their actual names. Then Nephi died.
All those who were not Lamanites were called Nephites, even though there were Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Lamanites, Lemuelites and Ishmaelites.
I, Jacob, will not refer to them by these names, but will refer to those who try to destroy Nephi's people as Lamanites. And I will refer to those who are friendly to Nephi as Nephites.
The Nephites, under the reign of their second king, started the wicked practice of desiring and indulging themselves with many wives and mistresses, like David of old and his son Solomon had done.
They also began to dig for great amounts of gold and silver, for they were beginning to become proud. So I, Jacob, having been called by God, taught them in the temple.
Nephi had consecrated my brother Joseph and I to be the people's priests and teachers.
We increased in our commitment to serve the Lord, feeling that we were responsible for the people's sins if we did not teach them God's word as diligently as we could.
We taught them with all our might so we would not have to answer for their sins.
Jacob calls his people to repentance... (compare Jacob, chapter 2)
After Nephi died, I spoke these words to the Nephites:
My beloved brothers and sisters, I am responsible to God to fulfill my obligation to serve you so I will not have to answer for your sins. This is why I have come to give you God's words in the temple today.
You know I have taught you diligently. So far, this has not been a hard task. But today it is hard because I am weighed down more than ever with anxiety over the welfare of your souls.
Until now, you have obeyed the Lord's words I have given you. But listen to me, for by the help of the all-powerful Creator of heaven and earth, I know your thoughts--how you are beginning to work in sin, which is very offensive to God, and to me.
It sorrows my soul and causes me to shrink with shame before the presence of my Maker, for I must testify to you about the wickedness of your hearts.
I'm also sorry that I must speak so boldly about you in front of your wives and children, for many of their feelings are very tender, chaste and delicate before God, which is pleasing to Him. They have come to hear the pleasing word of God--the word that heals the wounded soul.
My soul is burdened because I am compelled by a strict command from God to admonish you for your crimes, and enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded, instead of consoling and healing them.
And those who have not been wounded, instead of feasting upon the pleasing word of God, they will have their souls pierced and delicate minds wounded.
But as hard as this, I must obey God's strict command and tell you about your wickedness in the presence of their pure and broken hearts, and do it under the gaze of the Almighty God's piercing eyes.
I must tell you the truth according to God's plain word. For as I was praying, His word came to me,
"Jacob, go to the temple tomorrow and tell your people the words that I will give you."
Now my brothers and sisters, these are the words:
Many of you have begun to search for gold, silver and all types of precious ores that are plentiful in this land of promise, given to you and your descendants.
God has smiled upon you most pleasingly, and by His providence you have obtained many riches.
Because some of you have obtained more than others you have become lifted up in the pride of your hearts. You lift your heads high because of your expensive clothing, and you criticize others, thinking you are better than they.
Now, do you think God justifies you in doing this? No, He condemns you. And if you continue to do this, His judgments must quickly come upon you.
I wish He would show you how He can level you to the dust with just one glance of His eyes! I wish His Spirit would take the desire to sin away from you so you would listen to His commands and not let the pride of your hearts destroy your souls!
You should know all your brothers and sisters' needs as you do your own, and be generous with your things. So generous that you all become equally rich.
But before you seek riches, seek God's kingdom. After you have obtained a hope in Christ you will have riches, if you want them to do good--to buy food and clothing for those in need, to liberate those in debt, and to give relief to the sick and afflicted.
I have spoken to you about pride. And those of you who afflict and despise your neighbors because you're so proud of your possessions--things with which God has blessed you--what do you say for yourselves?
Don't you think your pride offends your Creator, to whom everyone is equally precious? For God created us all from the dust, to keep His commandments and thereby glorify Him forever.
This is all I will say about your pride. If I did not have to speak to you about a more serious sin, my heart would rejoice greatly because of you. But God's word burdens me because of your crimes.
The Lord told me,
"This people are becoming sinful. They do not understand the scriptures. They try to excuse their immorality because of what is written about David and his son Solomon, who both had many wives and mistresses--a serious sin before me.
I led this people out of Jerusalem by the power of my arm to raise up righteous descendants of Joseph of old. To do this, I, the Lord God, cannot allow this people to do what David and Solomon did."
Now my brethren, hear me and obey the Lord, for every man should have only one wife and no mistresses. For the Lord said:
"I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women, and immorality of any kind is a very serious sin before me. My people will keep my commandments or the land will be cursed for their sakes.
If I need to raise up many righteous people, I will command accordingly. Otherwise, they must obey this law.
I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow and have heard the mourning of my people's daughters in Jerusalem, and in all my people's lands, because of their husbands' wickedness.
I will not allow the cries of the fair daughters of this people, whom I have led out of Jerusalem, to come up to me against my people's men. For if they seduce and capture the hearts of my people's daughters because of their tenderness, I will visit them with destruction for committing sexual sins like those of old."
My brethren, you know that these commandments were given to our father, Lehi.
Now you have come under great condemnation for doing what you know is wrong. Your sins are greater than those of the Lamanites.
Because of your bad examples, you have broken your wives' tender hearts and have lost your children's confidence. The sobbing of their hearts goes up to God, and because of God's strict word that has come down against you, many of their hearts have died, pierced with deep wounds.
Jacob speaks out against adultery... (compare Jacob, chapter 3)
I, Jacob, now speak to the pure in heart. Look to God with determination, praying to Him with great faith, and He will comfort you in your trials. He will plead your cause and send down justice upon those who try to destroy you.
All you who are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive God's pleasing words. If you are committed to doing right, you will enjoy His love forever.
But those of you who are not pure in heart are greatly cursed. Unless you repent, the land is cursed for your sakes.
The Lamanites, who are also cursed, but who are not sinful like you, will destroy you. Unless you repent, the Lamanites will soon possess the land of your inheritance and the Lord will lead the righteous out from among you.
The Lamanites, your brethren, whom you hate because of their sinfulness and curse of dark skin, are more righteous than you, for they have not forgotten the Lord's commandment to have only one wife and not to commit these types of sins.
Because they keep this commandment, the Lord will not destroy them. He will be merciful to them and one day they will become a blessed people.
Their husbands love their wives, their wives love their husbands, and they all love their children. They hate you and do not believe in God because of their fathers' false traditions. So how much better are you than they in the sight of your Creator?
Oh my brethren, I am afraid that unless you repent, their skin will be lighter than yours when you stand next to them before God's throne.
I command you, by the word of God, not to hate them because of their dark skin and sinfulness! Remember your own sinfulness, and that their sinfulness came because of their fathers.
Remember how you have grieved your children's hearts because of your bad examples. Your sinfulness may bring them to destruction, and if so, their sins will be upon your heads at the last day.
Oh my brethren, listen to me. Awaken your souls from the sleep of death. Loosen yourselves from the pains of hell so that you will not become angels to the devil. Do not be thrown into a lake of fire to your second death (dead to righteousness forever).
I, Jacob, said many other things to Nephi's people, warning them against sexual sins and every kind of sin, telling them the awful consequences of them.
But not even one percent of what these people did can be engraved upon these smaller plates. However, many of their proceedings are engraved on the larger plates--their wars, disputes and reign of their kings.
Some of these smaller plates upon which I now engrave are called Jacob's Plates, even though my brother Nephi made them.
Jacob values prophecies and records... (compare Jacob, chapter 4)
I have spoken many times to my people, but I can only write a small part of what I said because engraving on plates is so difficult.
We do it knowing what we engrave on metal plates will endure. Any other material we write on (parchment, skin, etc.) will not endure.
The little we engrave on our plates will give our children, and also our beloved brethren, the Lamanites, a little knowledge of us, their forefathers.
We work diligently to engrave these plates, hoping the Lamanites and their children in the last days will receive them with thankful hearts, and learn with joy, not sorrowing nor resenting Laman and Lemuel, their first parents.
We keep our records so they'll know we knew of Christ, and that we had a hope of His glory hundreds of years before He came, and that holy prophets who lived before us also had a hope of His glory.
Those prophets believed in Christ and worshipped the Father in His name as we do now. And like them, we keep the law of Moses, which points our souls to Christ. And our sacrifices are considered righteous, as was Abraham's, who offered his son Isaac--a symbol of God's offering of His Only Begotten Son.
We search the prophets' writings and have many revelations in the spirit of prophecy. With all these witnesses, we have hope.
Our faith becomes so strong we can command the trees, the mountains and the ocean in the name of Jesus, and they obey us.
But the Lord shows us our weaknesses so we may know it's by His grace and great kindness to His people that we have this power.
The Lord's works are great and marvelous! How deep His mysteries are! It's impossible for people to know all His ways, and no one knows His ways without revelation. This is why you should not despise revelation from God.
By His word, man, woman and the earth were created. So if God created the earth and everything on it by speaking, why can't He command all the elements of the earth as He so desires?
Pondering this, do not try to counsel the Lord. Take His counsel, for you know He counsels in wisdom, justice and great mercy over all His works.
Be reconciled to Him through the atonement of Christ, His Only Begotten Son.
If you do this, then through Christ's power, you may be among the first to be resurrected and presented to God.
Have faith in Him, and obtain a hope of glory in Him before He shows Himself in the flesh. Do not wonder that I tell you these things, for why should we not speak of the atonement of Christ, and seek a perfect knowledge of Him, of the resurrection, and of the world to come?
Those who prophesy should be understood by the people, for the Spirit speaks the truth and does not lie. He speaks of things as they really are, and as they really will be, explaining eternal truths to us plainly to save our souls.
We are not the only witnesses of these things, for God also told them to the prophets of old.
But the Jews were stubborn. They despised plain words and killed the prophets, looking for things they could not understand.
Because of their blindness, which came from looking beyond the mark, God gave them exactly what they wanted. He took away His plain words and gave them many things they could not understand. This is why they stumbled spiritually and fell.
Now I, Jacob, am led by the Spirit to prophesy, for I sense by the workings of the Spirit in me, that because the Jews stumble, they will reject the stone upon which they might have built a safe foundation.
According to the scriptures, this stone will become the great, last and only sure foundation upon which they can build.
Note: Christ is the cornerstone upon which to build (Helaman 5:12).
And how will it be possible for the Jews, after rejecting their sure foundation, to ever build upon it and make it their cornerstone? I will tell you how, as long as I do not get shaken from my determination in the Spirit and stumble because of my anxiety for you.
Speaking to all members of the house of Israel, the Lord's prophet, Zenos (who was martyred), told us exactly how the Jews will make Christ their cornerstone after rejecting Him for centuries:
Jacob reads of Zenos the Martyr's House of Israel metaphor, the "olive tree" (compare Jacob, chapter 5...the longest in The Book of Mormon)
Note: The reference to Zenos being a martyr is found in Helaman 8:19.
The Father said the house of Israel (the Jews, or Judah, the lost tribes, and the tribe of Joseph) is like a tame olive tree, which He planted in his vineyard and cared for.
The tree grew, became old and started to decay.
Note: Abraham was the beginning of the olive tree, planted in Canaan around 1900 BC. His grandson Israel (Jacob) went with his twelve sons into Egypt.
Their descendants were delivered from Egypt and wandered until Joshua led them into Canaan around 1350 BC. The house of Israel began to grow in righteousness under King David and Solomon, but by 931 BC, its government had begun to decay spiritually and politically.
Seeing this, the Father of the vineyard said, "I will prune out its wicked leaders and divide it into two kingdoms:
I will water it by sending many prophets, who will declare righteousness to the people (prophets such as Jehu and Elijah).
Then perhaps the house of Israel will repent, sprouting new, righteous young branches, and not die."
So He pruned it, dug around it, and watered it--sending many prophets to both kingdoms. After much time, part of the house of Israel began to grow in truth, but the main branches at the top of the tree (their kings) began to die spiritually (by worshipping idols).
Seeing this, the Father of the vineyard said to the Savior, "Losing the entire house of Israel, the whole olive tree, would grieve me.
Therefore, bring in the branches from a wild olive tree (the Assyrian and Babylonian kings). We will pluck out and burn the dying main branches (the apostate kings of Israel) and replace them with wild branches."
Note: The northern kingdom of Israel was invaded by the Assyrians (a wild olive tree branch) in 722 BC.
The Father of the vineyard said, "I will pluck out the young and tender branches and plant them in other parts of my earth. Then I will not lose the whole house of Israel if the roots die, and I will still preserve the good fruit (those who keep their covenants).
Take the branches of the wild olive tree and graft them into the tame tree."
Note: The southern kingdom of Judah was invaded by the Babylonians (another wild olive tree branch) in 587 BC.
The Savior did as he was told and grafted the wild branches into the olive tree.
And in His mercy, the Father of the vineyard cared for the house of Israel's spiritual roots.
Note: Through Daniel, Esther and Nehemiah, the Lord caused the house of Israel's roots to be nourished.
Then He said, "The tender branches that I plucked out (scattered tribes, Jews, Mulek & Lehi's people) will be preserved for myself, that I may lay up their fruit before the last day, for it would grieve me to lose the house of Israel and its fruit." The Father hid the natural branches that had been plucked out in separate places upon His earth. He planted them here and there according to His will and pleasure.
After many years had passed, the Father said to the Savior, "Come, let us go down to the vineyard."
They both went down to labor, and the Son said to the Father, "Look at the tame olive tree, the roots of Israel!"
The Father of the vineyard saw the mother tree in which the wild branches had been grafted. The tree began to bear much good fruit (keeping the laws and commandments of Moses).
Note: The mother tree was the Babylonian captives of Judah, now returned to Jerusalem. Lehi saw this return in vision. See 1 Nephi 10:3.
Even though wild branches had been grafted into the mother tree, it bore good fruit, just as good as the natural branches transplanted to other places.
The Father then exclaimed to the Savior, "Look, the branches from the wild tree have taken hold, getting strength from the spiritual roots of the house of Israel (the prophets of Judah). The wild branches are now bearing tame fruit!
It is good that we brought in the wild branches (many who converted to the Lord) or else the tame roots would have died by now, having no branches to nourish them.
Now I will have much fruit (covenant people) before the last day. Come, let us now go to the other parts of the earth to see if the transplanted natural branches of the house of Israel are also bearing good fruit."
They went to the other parts of the earth, and the Father said to His Son, "Look at these!" The Son saw the first tree (scattered Jews) bearing The wild branches are now bearing tame fruit!
The Father told the Savior to harvest the fruit, for He had nourished that tree for a long time. Then the Savior asked his Father, "Why did you plant the first branch in the poorest spot in the vineyard?"
The Father replied, "Counsel me not. I knew this was a poor spot, and so I nourished it for a long time. Now you see it has brought forth much good fruit (many people keeping their covenants).
Look over there, where I planted another branch (scattered tribes). You know this spot of ground was poorer than the first. But look at them. I nourished them a long time and they now produce much good fruit. Harvest that tree as well."
And the Lord of the vineyard again said to His servant, "Look over here, where I planted and nourished another branch (others scattered tribes). It bears much fruit.
And look over here and see the last branch that I planted (Mulek, Lehi, Ishmael and their families) in a very good (choice land) part of my earth. I have nourished them for a long time, but now only part (the Nephites) are righteous, bearing good fruit.
The rest of them (the Lamanites) bear wild fruit that is not good. Let the Nephites completely destroy the wild branches (their brethren the Lamanites) who don't bear good fruit."
But the Savior said, "Let the Nephites preach to the Lamanites a little longer. Maybe the Lamanites will yet bear good fruit for you on the day of judgment."
Then the Father of the vineyard and His Son nourished the entire earth.
A long time passed, and the Father said to His Son, "Come, let us go down in the earth, for the end is near, and I must have good fruit (celestial souls) for myself before the last day."
They went to the tame olive tree again (the mother tree) whose natural branches had been broken off, and whose grafted-in wild branches had born good fruit. Now all types of fruit burdened the tree.
The Father of the vineyard tasted each type of fruit from the mother tree, sorted and counted them, and said, "We have taken care of this tree for a long time.
In the past the wild branches were fed by the natural roots, and this tree gave me much good fruit. It still bears much fruit, but now it is all bad (general apostasy in Jerusalem).
This tree no longer profits me in spite of all our work, and I will be sad to lose it now. What must we do to help this tree bear good fruit again?" The Savior answered, "The wild branches we brought in, which once bore good fruit, are all corrupt again. However, the original roots are still good."
The Father replied, "But even with good roots, this bad fruit is worthless to me. Yes, the roots are good. Because of their great strength, they once nourished the wild branches, which for a time bore good fruit. But now look. The corrupt branches (governing powers) have overrun the spiritual roots. This is why their fruit is bad.
Because this tree bears so much bad fruit, it will die unless we do something. Let's go down to the other parts of the earth and see if other natural branches also bear bad fruit."
And sure enough, all the natural branches (scattered Jews and/or tribes, and the descendants of Mulek, Lehi and Ishmael) had also become corrupt.
The wild fruit of the last tame tree (the Lamanites) had overcome (destroyed) the part of the tree that at one time had borne good fruit (the Nephites).
Upon seeing this, the Father of the vineyard wept while saying to His Son, "What more could I have done for my vineyard? I knew all the fruit had become corrupt, except for these (the Nephites). Now even they who once bore good fruit have become corrupt and are gone!
Now all the people of the earth are good for nothing except to be burned. Look at this branch of the last tree (the Nephites), withered away. I planted it in the best part of my earth--in the choicest land!
You saw me remove what was here before (the Jaredites) so I could plant this tree (the Nephites) in its place.
You saw this tree bear good fruit and wild fruit. Because I did not destroy the wild branches (the Lamanites) long ago, they overcame the good branch.
Now in spite of all the care we have given to my earth, all the people in it have become corrupt.
I had hoped to save them--to have preserved their souls to myself before the last day. But look at them. They have all become like wild olive trees, good only for burning. Losing all of them grieves me.
What more could I have done? Have I ever stopped nourishing my vineyard? (Sending prophets, giving scriptures to the people, etc.). It grieves me to cut down all the trees of my vineyard and burn them.
Who has corrupted my vineyard?"
The Savior answered, "The proud people (the lofty branches) have overcome their spiritual roots. They have grown too proud and rich to be fed by their spiritual roots.
The lofty branches have stolen the strength (the governing power) from their spiritual roots, starving and overcoming them. This is why your world has become corrupt."
The Father replied, "Yes. Now let's cut down the trees and burn them, for I've done everything I can to save them."
But the Savior said, "Spare them a little longer."
The Father answered, "I will, for it would be sad to lose all the trees of my vineyard.
Note: Now comes the gathering of Israel in these last days. Isaiah's great prophecies describe these events.
Let us gather the branches planted in the outer parts of my earth (the Jews, the ten tribes, and the tribe of Joseph) and bring them back to their spiritual roots.
Let us pluck out the branches with most bitter fruit (the most wicked), and replace them with the natural branches. I will do this to save their roots for my own purpose.
The roots of the house of Israel are yet alive. To preserve these roots, I will graft their original, natural branches back into them, even though the branches have become corrupt.
When these corrupt natural branches are strong again, maybe then they will bear good fruit for me, that I may yet have glory in the fruit of my orchard."
Then the Father and the Savior took branches from the mother tree that had become corrupt, and grafted them into the transplanted natural trees, which also had become corrupt.
Note: The original transplanting was the Jewish/Lamanite dispersions, caused by the wicked Gentiles.
Then they took the corrupt branches from the transplanted natural trees and grafted them back into their mother tree.
Note: This grafting is the gathering of the Jews, Lamanites, and dispersed tribes of Israel to their lands of inheritance, to be assisted by the righteous Gentiles (1 Nephi 15:15-18, 3 Ne 21:22-28, Mormon 5:14-15, 20).
The Father of the vineyard said to the Savior, "As we do this, only remove the most wicked from corrupt natural trees before doing as I have said. As we do this, we will send prophets to these corrupt natural branches once again.
We will destroy only the most wicked (those most ripe). We will do this so that the good, spiritual roots of the house of Israel will again be able to nourish their corrupt natural branches, and help them overcome evil.
Because I have saved the natural branches and their roots, perhaps the people of the house of Israel throughout my earth will bear good fruit once again, and I will have joy in them.
Now go. Give power to other servants, that we may all labor together diligently with our might in the earth, preparing the way, that I may yet have natural, good fruit again (the most precious fruit of all)!
Let us labor with our might this last time, for the end is near. This is the last time I will destroy the wicked of my earth. Gather the corrupt natural branches of the house of Israel back to both Jerusalems.
Bring the gospel to the Gentiles first (the latter-day restoration). Then gather the scattered Jews last.
Gather in Ephraim and Manasseh, the ten tribes, and Judah (the Jews), that they may all be taught the gospel one last time. Nourish the house of Israel one last time, for the end will soon come.
If these last grafts produce good fruit, then according to their strength and numbers, clear their way for them to produce more by destroying the wicked.
Do not destroy the wicked all at once, but only as fast as the natural, good fruit can take their place. By doing this, Israel's descendants will rely on me, and I will not lose them.
Their roots (spiritual power) and high branches (governing power) will be kept equal in strength until their good fruit completely overcomes the bad. Otherwise, I would lose the good fruit, which would grieve me.
This is how I will sweep the wicked from my earth. I will bring the corrupt natural branches back to their mother tree (gathering), and I will graft corrupt branches from the mother tree into the transplanted corrupt natural trees (dispersion).
After the natural branches have come together (the mingling of latter-day Israel), they will again bear good fruit as one, natural tree, and all the wicked in the world will be removed during this last cleansing."
Then the Father of the vineyard sent His Son, who gave other servants power to preach and cleanse. These servants were few when compared to the hosts of the wicked.
The Father said to them, "Go and labor in my earth with all your might, mind and strength because this is the last time I will work in my earth, for the end is near.
If you labor mightily with me, you will have joy in the fruit that I will preserve to myself against the day of judgment, which soon comes."
Then the servants labored with their might, obeying all the commandments of the Father, who labored with them.
The natural, good fruit grew again in the earth. The servants did as they were commanded, keeping the spiritual roots and the governing tops of the trees in balance.
Note: This balance is between the Lord's word and His law, which will go out from Zion (the old and new Jerusalems (2 Nephi 12:3).
They did this by destroying only part of the wicked at a time, allowing the natural branches to grow in their place.
The servants labored with all diligence, according to the Father's commandments, until all the wicked had been swept off the earth and the Father had preserved to Himself the natural fruit.
Now all of Israel's house had become unified in love, as one body, and were all equal. The Father of the vineyard had preserved to Himself the natural fruit (His righteous children) which had been most precious to Him from the beginning.
When the Father of the vineyard saw that His fruit was good, and that all the corrupt had been destroyed, He called up all His servants and said to them,
"We have nourished my earth for the last time, and you have seen me do my will, preserving the good, natural fruit, like it was in the beginning.
You are all blessed for having diligently labored with me in my earth, keeping my commandments, bringing the natural fruit to me again and destroying all the wicked.
Because of the good souls of the earth that you have gathered, you will have joy with me in my house. I will preserve these souls to myself for a long time after the last day, which soon comes.
I have nourished my people and have destroyed the wicked for the last time.
When evil comes upon the earth again (end of millennium), I will gather the good and bad. I will preserve the good to myself and throw the bad out to their own place. Then the final judgment will come, and I will celestialize my earth with fire."
Jacob explains Zenos' writings (compare Jacob, chapter 6)
Now, my brothers and sisters, I, Jacob, said I would prophesy to you, and this is my prophecy...what Zenos wrote about Israel's descendants, by comparing them to a tame olive-tree, will surely come to pass!
When the Lord again sets His hand, sending His powerful servant, like Moses, to deliver His people, it will be the last time that powerful servants will preach and destroy throughout the world.
Note: powerful servants referred to in 2 Nephi 6:14-15 and D&C 103:15-18.
Soon after this, the end will come. How blessed are those who will labor diligently in His earth, and how cursed are those who will be cast out into their own place before the world is celestialized with fire.
Note: compare D&C 43:23-33.
How merciful is our God, who will remember Israel's descendants, both their spiritual roots and their governing branches. He extends His arms to them continually, but they are stubborn, contentious and will not come to Him.
However, those who do not harden their hearts will be saved in His kingdom.
Because of this, my beloved brothers and sisters, I call upon you to repent and sincerely come to God with all your hearts, holding onto Him as He holds you.
While His arms of mercy are extended toward you in the light of the day, do not harden your hearts. If you want to hear His voice today, then do not harden your hearts against Him and die spiritually.
After being nourished by God's good word for so long, will you openly rebel, only to be cut down and thrown into the fire?
Will you reject the words of so many prophets who have spoken about Christ?
Will you deny His power and the gift of the Holy Ghost?
Will you drive off the Holy Spirit, mocking the great plan of redemption that has been laid before you?
Don't you know if you do these things, then the power of the redemption and the resurrection, which is in Christ, will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before God?
Then, according to the power of the justice of God's word, which cannot be denied, you must go away from Him into that fire that separates the wicked from the righteous. Into those flames and smoke that go up forever.
Knowing this reality, repent and enter at the straight gate. Then stay on the narrow path, holding onto God's word until you obtain eternal life.
Oh be wise! What more can I say?
Farewell, until I meet you again before the pleasing bar of God, which bar strikes the wicked with awful dread and fear. Amen."
Jacob meets with Sherem... (compare Jacob, chapter 7)
After some years had passed, a man named Sherem came among the Nephites. He began to preach that there would be no Christ. He preached many flattering things in order to overthrow Christ's doctrine. He worked hard and led many hearts away.
He knew that I, Jacob, had faith in Christ, who would come, so he tried many times to speak to me. Sherem was a well educated man, and he had a perfect knowledge of the people's language.
He was a very flattering and powerful speaker, having power from the devil. He was hoping to shake me from the faith in spite of the many revelations and things that I had seen, for I truly had seen angels who had spoken to me. I had also heard the Lord's voice speak to me from time to time, so I could not be shaken.
When Sherem finally got his chance to speak to me, he said,
"Brother Jacob, I have been looking forward to meeting you for some time now, for I have heard, and also know, that you preach what you call 'the gospel' or 'the doctrine of Christ.'
You have led many people to change the ways of God and not keep the law of Moses, which is the right way.
You are attempting to convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being whom you say will come many hundreds of years from now.
I, Sherem, declare to you that this is blasphemy, for no one knows such things--no one can see the future."
Then the Lord God poured His Spirit into my soul, enabling me to confound Sherem in all his words. I said to him, "Do you deny Christ, who will come?"
He answered, "If there were a Christ, I would not deny Him, but I know there is not a Christ. There never has been nor will there ever be one."
I asked him, "Do you believe the scriptures?"
He said, "Yes."
I said, "Then you do not understand them, Sherem, because they truly testify of Christ. None of the prophets have written or prophesied without speaking of Christ.
I have seen and heard Christ in vision, and by the power of the Holy Ghost it has been made known to me that if no atonement were made everyone would be lost."
Sherem replied, "Show me a sign by the power of this Holy Ghost, whom you know so much about."
I answered him, "Who am I to tempt God by asking Him to show you a sign to prove to you what you already know is true? Even if you saw a sign, you'd still deny Christ because you're of the devil.
It's not up to me, but if God smites you, that's His sign to you that He has power, and that Christ will come. Oh Lord, Thy will be done, not mine."
As I, Jacob, said this, the Lord's power came upon Sherem and he collapsed. He was barely kept alive for many days.
Then one day Sherem said, "Gather the people together tomorrow, for I'm going to die soon."
The next day a crowd gathered and Sherem spoke plainly. He denied what he had taught. He confessed the reality of Christ, of the power of the Holy Ghost, and of the ministering of angels. He said he had been deceived by the devil's power. He spoke of hell, of eternal punishment, and of eternity.
Sherem uttered, "I'm afraid because I think I have committed the unpardonable sin, for I have lied to God. I denied the Christ, yet said I believed the scriptures, which truly testify of Him. Because I have lied to God, I'm afraid for my soul. But I now confess my evil works to God."
Sherem could say no more, and he died.
Having seen Sherem confess just before dying, the multitude was greatly astonished. As God's power came upon and overcame them they all fell to the earth.
This pleased me, Jacob, because I had asked my Father in heaven for such an event. He had heard my cry and had answered my prayer.
God's love and peace was restored among the people. They searched the scriptures, and Sherem's lies died with him.
The Nephites had many ideas about how to restore the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth, but they were all in vain because the Lamanites delighted in war and bloodshed. They had an eternal hatred against us, their brethren, and they continually tried to kill us.
So we, the people of Nephi, fortified ourselves against them with our weapons and strength, trusting in God, the rock of our salvation. By doing this, we were able to conquer our enemies.
As I, Jacob, now grow old, I finish my record on the small plates that Nephi gave me. The Nephite history is kept on Nephi's larger plates.
The best way I can describe our lives is by saying that they passed like a dream. We were a lonesome and solemn people--wandering outcasts from Jerusalem, born in tribulation in the wilderness and hated by our brethren, who caused wars and contentions. And so we mourned out our days.
When I, Jacob, realized I would soon die, I told my son Enos to take charge of all the plates. I repeated the commands of my brother Nephi to Enos, and he promised to obey them.
This is the end of what little I have engraved. I hope many of my brethren, the Lamanites, will be among those who read my words.
Farewell, and may blessings attend you.