Sunday, April 10, 2016

Jacob's Errand from The Lord (Jacob 1)

Jesus Christ ordaining his apostles
The book of Jacob in the BOM is only 7 chapters.  That's great  news, since I started 2nd Nephi back in March of 2012.  Sticking to my current APR, Jacob should just take 1 or 2 years.  So, without further adieu (until Jacob 7: 27), in the words of my 2-year old grandson, Gordon, "K, do it!"
The "Them" in verse 17 is the people of Nephi, or Nephites.  After Nephi died, the people loved him so much that they wanted to keep his name going.  So, anyone who followed Nephi as King and Prophet were called "Nephites", even though they were actually Jacobites, Josephites, Samites, Ishmaelites, Lamanites, Lemuelites, Zoramites, etc.  And, yes, I think some of the kids of Laman, Lemuel and Ishmael followed Nephi when he departed the land of Lehi and went to the land of Nephi.  Mostly, though, the descendants of Laman, Lemuel and Ishmael chose to not follow The Lord nor His prophet.  These guys were collectively called "Lamanites".  For the most part throughout the BOM, the Lamanites were the "Bad Guys", even though they were at times very good, and the Nephites were the "Good Guys", even though they were at times very bad.  Simple, huh?

Anywayz... The Nephites were getting a little wild, so Jacob went to the temple to preach to them.  Jacob didn't take this duty on himself willy-nilly.  He first received his "errand from The Lord".  I like the way he put that, but what does it mean?  Jacob said that he and his brother Joseph were consecrated priests and teachers by the hand of Nephi.

Jacob received his Priesthood Office by the laying on of hands from Nephi, who was the Prophet and presiding High Priest over the people.  Nephi received this Office the same way from his dad, Lehi, who received it the same way from... well, someone, and so on. 

This is Moses ordaining his brother Aaron to the High Priesthood
So, what does Jacob tell the Nephites?  What did Nephi tell them?  What did Lehi tell them?  It's been the same since clear back to Adam's day...  

 Come unto Christ and partake of the goodness of God.
Jacob 1: 7-8
3 Notes from these verses:

  • God's wrath ("...lest by any means He should swear in His wrath that they should not enter in..."):  If I read the word wrath outside of the context of Our Heavenly Father I would take the meaning to be anger.  In this case, however, I do not interpret it that way.  I would probably substitute the word chasten for wrath, and the meaning to be more along the lines of a strong reminder for us to clean up our acts in order to be the most happiest we can be, because us being the most happiest we can be is what Heavenly Father wants for us. He is our Father, after all.
  • The "provocation in the days of temptation" refers to the children of Israel not being allowed to enter into the promised land, but instead had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.  
  • View His death, suffer His cross and bear the shame of the world:  This is some deep stuff and deserves some deeper thinking.  I don't want to give my opinion of the meanings here, but encourage you to ponder about it.  One thing that comes to my mind, though, about "bearing the shame of the world"... I'm reminded of Lehi's dream back in 1st Nephi 8 where certain people followed the right path to the tree of life (the love of God), but then noticed there were people in the great and spacious building (the world) pointing their fingers and laughing at them. Unfortunately, their reaction was to cast their eyes down in shame and wander off into darkness.  That part always makes me sad.

So, let's recap the BOM story so far...

  • About 600 B.C. Lehi had a vision of the impending destruction of the Jews in Jerusalem, and took his & Ishmael's families and a guy named Zoram, who was a servant of his cousin Laban, & fled the scene in secret.
  • They first went southwest to the Red Sea, then southeast along the Red Sea for a ways, then due east to what they called "Bountiful".  

  • After traveling in the wilderness and living there in Bountiful for a period of 8 years, Nephi, with his brothers' willing help, built a nice boat and sailed across the Indian and Pacific Oceans for near a year, landing in their promised land,  the Americas.  

  • Lehi and Ishmael settled their families in what they called "The Land of Lehi", it being a tradition to name a place after the leader of the settlement.  Whether The Land of Lehi was located in Mexico, California, Peru or Timbuktu (unlikely) is not important to me or my ramblings.

  • Lehi got old & was going to kick the bucket, so he got all of his kids & grandkids (including Zoram's family) around him & gave them all Priesthood blessings, asking The Lord to watch over them and all of their descendants. 

  • Lehi died.  And, not long after that, Laman, Lemuel & Ishmael's kids got more and more wild, throwing loud parties, blasting rap music in the middle of the night, etc.  So, The Lord told Nephi to get out.  

  • Nephi, Sam, Jacob, Joseph, Zoram, an unknown number of Nephi's sisters and an unknown number of his bad brothers' kids fled the scene.  These guys are the Nephites, and they moved north to a little place they like to call.... The Land of Nephi.  

  • Laman & those other guys stayed in The Land of Lehi, & became the Lamanites.  The Lamanites not only failed to teach their kids anything about God, but brainwashed them into believing that the Nephites were a horrible bunch of no accounts who needed to be wiped out because of the many wrongs they committed against them.  The bad decisions of Laman, Lemuel & Ishmael's kids plunged their descendants into darkness for generations.

  • Sorry about that...Anywayz..., 55 years after Lehi left Jerusalem, Nephi got old & died.  Before he died Nephi designated some dude to take over as king of the Nephites, and ordained Jacob and Joseph to be the spiritual leaders of his people. 
Which brings us to the end of Jacob chapter 1.  Only 6 more to go.  Excited?  Wait till we get to chapter 5. 

Peace be with you...