Ether, Chapter 3

How can we get answers to our prayers?

In the last chapter, the brother of Jared had gone to the Lord for help.  They had built barges, but there was no light inside.  The Lord had given him the responsibility to come up with an solution.  It can be difficult to pray, with full trust that an answer will come, and then one doesn’t.  The brother of Jared had the awesome gift to be able to speak directly to the Lord. He knew he was getting the answer from the Lord, but I am not sure he was expecting the response he got.  It doesn’t seem like much of a solution, but rather like he was back where he started – not knowing what they should do.  When I go with a question and I do not receive an answer then, I think and study out the question more.

“And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying (v. 1):  O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires (v. 2).  Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been merciful unto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock (v. 3).  And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea (v. 4).  Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men (v. 5).”

In studying these scriptures, I have come to believe the following.  I think that when the Lord put the responsibility of finding a solution on the brother of Jared, that it was like saying, “You already have the answer.”  Noah had come before the time of Jared and his family.  Noah could not have windows as we imagine, on the ark.  According to the footnote, the ark “windows” are believed by some to actually be stones that gave light.  I think that this is true.  I think that the brother of Jared, remembered what happened for Noah and he knew that the Lord could make these same types of stones for them.  The Lord knew that the brother of Jared had records that told of all of the time on earth, since Adam and Eve, so the answer was there in the records.  He just needed to search the records for the answers, just as we need to do today.

The brother of Jared, took these stones to the Lord with great faith and humility.  He willingly admitted the faults of his family.  He knew that without the Lord, they would be nothing.  He recognized the power and wonder of the Lord and prayed with sincere trust that the Lord would help them.

“And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear (v. 6).  And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen (v. 7)?  And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood (v. 8 ).  And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this (v. 9)?  And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me (v. 10).  And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak (v. 11)?  And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie (v. 12).  And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you (v. 13).”

The brother of Jared was able to see the Lord because of his great faith and humility.  I think that if the Lord had just given him the answer to his prayer, rather than having him seek it out for himself, that this may not have happened.  It is through our obedience and work, that we learn to be more faithful.  He had to take these stones with the belief that the Lord would make them shine and if this amount of faith was not needed, he would not have had the strength to even see the finger of the Lord.  Because of his faith, the brother of Jared knew the Lord.  If we can truly come to know the Lord, we too will be redeemed from the fall and be with Him again.

“Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters (v. 14).  And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image (v. 15).  Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh (v. 16).”

What a wonderful experience this must have been for the brother of Jared.  Because of his faith in the Lord, he could witness the Lord for himself.  Now he no longer needed faith in Him, he knew Him.  I hope that my faith can continue to grow and be more like that of the brother of Jared.  What an awesome example he can be to us.

What can we learn about the Urim and Thummim?

“And now, as I, Moroni, said I could not make a full account of these things which are written, therefore it sufficeth me to say that Jesus showed himself unto this man in the spirit, even after the manner and in the likeness of the same body even as he showed himself unto the Nephites (v. 17).”  This is all that is written of what the brother of Jared saw.  The premortal Christ ministered to the brother of Jared and showed him “many great works” (v. 18 ).  The veil was removed from his mind because of his faith and his faith turned into a knowledge of Christ (v. 19).  With his faith, he saw the finger of the Lord, and with his knowledge, he saw all of Jesus (v. 20).

“And it came to pass that the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt not suffer these things which ye have seen and heard to go forth unto the world, until the time cometh that I shall glorify my name in the flesh; wherefore, ye shall treasure up the things which ye have seen and heard, and show it to no man (v. 21).  And behold, when ye shall come unto me, ye shall write them and shall seal them up, that no one can interpret them; for ye shall write them in a language that they cannot be read (v. 22).  And behold, these two stones will I give unto thee, and ye shall seal them up also with the things which ye shall write (v. 23).  For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write (v. 24).  And when the Lord had said these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth (v. 25).”

The brother of Jared was shown all of us who had ever, or would ever, live on the earth.  He was given the instructions that he would not tell anyone what he saw, but that the Lord would tell him how to record the things he saw, to be translated in the Lord’s time by the power of God.

“For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things—it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things (v. 26).  And the Lord said unto him: Write these things and seal them up; and I will show them in mine own due time unto the children of men (v. 27).  And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that he should seal up the two stones which he had received, and show them not, until the Lord should show them unto the children of men (v. 28 ).”  We learn what the two stones are in Joseph Smith-History 1:33-35.  “He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people (v. 33).  He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants (v. 34); Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book (v. 35).”

In the Bible Dictionary we learn that Urim and Thummim, means “Lights and Perfections” in Hebrew. It was “an instrument prepared of God to assist man in obtaining revelation from the Lord and in translating languages”.  We have been promised that even more of the records which were sealed, will be shown to us if we are faithful enough in studying that which has already been given to us.  As a people, we are not prepared yet for more of the record, but we can be.  I am excited for greater revelations to come to us.  It is amazing that tools have been given to man, to be able to do wonderful things, such as the Urim and Thummim.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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