Today I was reading in Ether 13 about how Ether prophesied so many things to the Jaredites and they rejected him and cast him out. Moroni gave a quick summary of those things that Ether prophesied, and it seemed that they all pertained to the house of Israel, the city Jerusalem, the New Jerusalem, the remnant of Joseph that would inherit the Americas, the second coming of Christ, and so on.
It struck me as kind of odd that Ether would prophesy this stuff to the Jaredites so early in the history of the earth. Well, maybe not so early because by the time the Jaredites were destroyed, Jerusalem existed and was probably already destroyed too and the Mulekites were probably already settled somewhere in the Americas.
The question I had was this—why would the Jaredites care about these people they’d never met before and who were so far removed from their day-to-day lives? (Indeed this very question may have been the reason they set Ether at naught and rejected what he was saying. They probably thought Ether’s prophecies about Israel and remnants and Jerusalem had no real bearing on their lives.)
Here’s something I just realized as I was writing this: if the Jaredites had repented, they would probably have eventually met these people—both the Mulekites and the Nephites, who were remnants of the house of Israel. Their cultures could have been united by the gospel. If they had been righteous, King Limhi’s search party would have found a flourishing civilization instead of a land of desolation. So in effect, part of the intent of Ether’s prophecies (besides crying repentance) were an attempt to prepare them to meet and embrace other approaching cultures.
They didn’t repent though.
So it appears that Ether then put his energy into making his record in hopes of somehow benefiting those peoples he knew were coming. And it appears that his purpose was accomplished, since Mosiah, after translating the record and reading about all the wickedness of Jaredite kings, began to desire to repudiate the system of monarchy in order to avoid the mistakes and suffering experienced by the Jaredites. It appears too that there was sufficient warning against secret combinations in the Jaredite records that righteous Nephite judges knew it is was important to root them out if possible.
So it seems that even though Ether’s prophecies and writings were not appreciated by his own people, they were appreciated by the Nephite-Mulekite civilization.
What does this mean for us today? There are prophecies in the scriptures about the lost 10 tribes, the gathering of the remnant of the house of Israel, and so on. These things are not irrelevant just because we don’t know where they are or who they are. We will eventually meet them, if we repent. We need to prepare for that day.