Friday, June 28, 2013

A Book of Mormon Mystery: Obtaining a Good Hope of Glory, Jacob 4:11-12

11 Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.
12 And now, beloved, marvel not that I tell you these things; for why not speak of the atonement of Christ, and attain to a perfect knowledge of him, as to attain to the knowledge of a resurrection and the world to come? (Jacob 4:11-12)
These are interesting verses because v12 hints that Jacob has just said something surprising that his hearers might not have thought of before, something implied in the doctrine that might be considered presumptuous by the strictly conservative.

I suspect that it is the idea of obtaining “a good hope of glory in Christ before Christ manifesteth himself in the flesh” (v11).  To these people, Christ’s atonement was still a future event, and so was the resurrection.  It seems that they knew the resurrection would eventually come to them after Christ’s, but Jacob suggests that the people take things a step further by seeking not just a testimony of Christ and His resurrection, but a testimony of the glorious resurrection they would receive for living faithfully.  He suggests they live their lives with that in mind as well.  Jacob seems to imply that there isn’t much difference between attaining a testimony of Christ’s glorious resurrection and one’s own, though the grammar is missing a “so” that would make it a little clearer, like this:  “why not speak of the atonement of Christ, and attain to a perfect knowledge of him, [so] as to attain to the knowledge of a resurrection and the world to come?”

For me, this seems very profound.  I have a testimony of the atonement of Christ, and I have some intellectual knowledge about the resurrection, and I have faith that Christ’s resurrection happened and that many saints also arose.  But to have a testimony of my own resurrection… that seems to imply some sort of spiritual experience.  Jacob continues:
Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old. (Jacob 4:13)
What do you think? 


Becky Rose said...

Through the book of Hebrews we learn that Abraham was only able to offer Isaac on the altar was because of his knowledge of the resurrection. Living prophets have spoken of seeing much of the 3 act play (Packer), so seeing the resurrection is probably a reality for those really righteous souls.

Michaela Stephens said...

Very true. Abraham's faith to offer Isaac is practically incomprehensible without understanding the resurrection. And the 3 act play analogy is certainly apt.