Annotated Book of Mormon
Evaluated According To My Current Knowledge

Jacob Chapter 7

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Book of Mormon Annotations

Chapter 7

 

1 And now it came to pass after some years had passed away, there came a man among the people of Nephi, whose name was Sherem.

 

2 And it came to pass that he began to preach among the people, and to declare unto them that there should be no Christ. And he preached many things which were flattering unto the people; and this he did that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ.

 

3 And he labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people, insomuch that he did lead away many hearts; and he knowing that I, Jacob, had faith in Christ who should come, he sought much opportunity that he might come unto me.

 

4 And he was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil.

 

5 And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.

Notice how cavalierly Jacob speaks of his many revelations, seeing angels, being ministered unto by angels, and actually hearing the voice of the Lord speak to him in very word.

With scripture like this, does it make any sense for anyone to defend apostles and prophets being ambiguous about whether or not they’ve seen Jesus by saying the experiences are too sacred to share?

6 And it came to pass that he came unto me, and on this wise did he speak unto me, saying: Brother Jacob, I have sought much opportunity that I might speak unto you; for I have heard and also know that thou goest about much, preaching that which ye call the gospel, or the doctrine of Christ.

 

7 And ye have led away much of this people that they pervert the right way of God, and keep not the law of Moses which is the right way; and convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being which ye say shall come many hundred years hence. And now behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you that this is blasphemy; for no man knoweth of such things; for he cannot tell of things to come. And after this manner did Sherem contend against me.

 

8 But behold, the Lord God poured in his Spirit into my soul, insomuch that I did confound him in all his words.

 

9 And I said unto him: Deniest thou the Christ who shall come? And he said: If there should be a Christ, I would not deny him; but I know that there is no Christ, neither has been, nor ever will be.

 

10 And I said unto him: Believest thou the scriptures? And he said, Yea.

Jacob 7:10-11

 

It is true that, in as much as “Christ” is from the Greek word Christos which means anointed one, many of the prophets wrote of the anointed one. The Hebrew word for anointed one is Messiah which is what they would have had in their Jewish records at this point. But, if we are to take the Book of Mormon on its word, 2 Ne 10:3 tells us that Christ was Jesus’ name. However, Christ is from the Greek “Christos” which is a title meaning “anointed” or “anointed one.” But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that these ancient Hebrews, hundreds of years BCE are using the Greek “Christos” as a name for Jesus the coming Messiah. This verse tells us that the prophets before this all spoke concerning this Christos. However, there is not one mention of Christos (by this claimed name) in any ancient text yet found.

11 And I said unto him: Then ye do not understand them; for they truly testify of Christ. Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.

Annotation for Jacob 7:10-11 above

12 And this is not all—it has been made manifest unto me, for I have heard and seen; and it also has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, I know if there should be no atonement made all mankind must be lost.

 

13 And it came to pass that he said unto me: Show me a sign by this power of the Holy Ghost, in the which ye know so much.

Book of Mormon prophets and modern LDS prophets teach that the Book of Mormon was written for our day and that believers should liken its words unto themselves. This is a case where it doesn’t work that well. Some may seek miraculous signs like Sherem, but most people would just like reasonable evidence for the extraordinary claims of the Book of Mormon including the divinity of Christ. I think the Book of Mormon itself teaches that seeking evidence is valid and good.

 

2 Ne 11:4, 6-7 - Nephi’s “soul delighteth in proving unto [his] people the truth.”

Helaman 5:50 - Prisoners see sons of Helaman, Nephi and Lehi, encircled as if by fire; see angels; and hear voices. When the prisoners told the Lamanites about this, “the more part of the Lamanites were convinced of them, because of the greatness of the evidences.”

Don’t give us signs. Please give us extraordinary evidence.

14 And I said unto him: What am I that I should tempt God to show unto thee a sign in the thing which thou knowest to be true? Yet thou wilt deny it, because thou art of the devil. Nevertheless, not my will be done; but if God shall smite thee, let that be a sign unto thee that he has power, both in heaven and in earth; and also, that Christ shall come. And thy will, O Lord, be done, and not mine.

Unfortunately many devout believers liken this verse unto themselves, accusing former believers of knowing the LDS Church is what it claims to be, or asserting that former belieivers are of the devil.

15 And it came to pass that when I, Jacob, had spoken these words, the power of the Lord came upon him, insomuch that he fell to the earth. And it came to pass that he was nourished for the space of many days.

 

16 And it came to pass that he said unto the people: Gather together on the morrow, for I shall die; wherefore, I desire to speak unto the people before I shall die.

 

17 And it came to pass that on the morrow the multitude were gathered together; and he spake plainly unto them and denied the things which he had taught them, and confessed the Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost, and the ministering of angels.

 

18 And he spake plainly unto them, that he had been deceived by the power of the devil. And he spake of hell, and of eternity, and of eternal punishment.

According to D&C 19:6-12 the words “endless” and “eternal” do not mean without end when it comes to “endless torment” or “eternal damnation”. These verses in the D&C explain that these words are used because, “it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men.” When people read these words in the Book of Mormon, how do they likely understand the words “endless” and “eternal”? Is this honest communication if D&C 19 reveals the actual meaning of these words?

19 And he said: I fear lest I have committed the unpardonable sin, for I have lied unto God; for I denied the Christ, and said that I believed the scriptures; and they truly testify of him. And because I have thus lied unto God I greatly fear lest my case shall be awful; but I confess unto God.

 

20 And it came to pass that when he had said these words he could say no more, and he gave up the ghost.

 

21 And when the multitude had witnessed that he spake these things as he was about to give up the ghost, they were astonished exceedingly; insomuch that the power of God came down upon them, and they were overcome that they fell to the earth.

First example I’ve noticed in Book of Mormon of a group being so astonished or overtaken by the Spirit that they all fall to the earth.

22 Now, this thing was pleasing unto me, Jacob, for I had requested it of my Father who was in heaven; for he had heard my cry and answered my prayer.

 

23 And it came to pass that peace and the love of God was restored again among the people; and they searched the scriptures, and hearkened no more to the words of this wicked man.

 

24 And it came to pass that many means were devised to reclaim and restore the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth; but it all was vain, for they delighted in wars and bloodshed, and they had an eternal hatred against us, their brethren. And they sought by the power of their arms to destroy us continually.

 

25 Wherefore, the people of Nephi did fortify against them with their arms, and with all their might, trusting in the God and rock of their salvation; wherefore, they became as yet, conquerors of their enemies.

 

26 And it came to pass that I, Jacob, began to be old; and the record of this people being kept on the other plates of Nephi, wherefore, I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.

From piotrkaplanstwo at exMormon Reddit,

This is a key verse in breaking one of the apologetic lines that ‘Maybe we don’t have DNA evidence because the Book of Mormon people were not alone in the land. Their DNA is hidden by being blended in with a much greater population.’ ‘we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers’ does not leave much wiggle room on the subject.

This verse is also troublesome when trying to reconcile the population growth talked about in various parts of the Book of Mormon with the reality of population growth. Populations do not magically jump from a dozen or so individuals to millions in just a few decades. The apologetic response to this is often, ‘They were mixing with, and somehow completely assimilating the cultures of existing populations.’

27 And I, Jacob, saw that I must soon go down to my grave; wherefore, I said unto my son Enos: Take these plates. And I told him the things which my brother Nephi had commanded me, and he promised obedience unto the commands. And I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu.

Quite a few critics of the Book of Mormon argue that a French word would not have been used in a translation from reformed Egyptian to English. I don’t find the criticism convincing. I like this argument:

 

“The word adieu is defined in a dictionary of Joseph Smith’s day as ‘a farewell; an expression of kind wishes at the parting of friends’ [meaning that I commend you to God]. (Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828). While the word is of French origin, it had found common usage in early nineteenth century New England” (Edward J. Brandt, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Oct. 1985).

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