2nd Peter 1:21
“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
The purpose of this study is to show the eternal value that the Lord placed with the written, or inscribed word, upon metal plates which remain within the Lord’s promise, and power, and to be preserved for generations until the end of time.
An abridgement was commanded to be made by the Lord to come to us in our time, or the last days, by the hand of a man by the name Mormon, who lived approximately A.D. 230-321. Divinely selected texts were used to be an added testimony for the gospel of Jesus Christ and plan of salvation. This abridgement would then be called the Book of Mormon.
Throughout the record of Mormon we read of the importance that the writers placed to be ever so careful about what they were writing about due to the amount of work to even make the plates. First, they would have to find the ore, then smelt or purify it, and then melt into an alloy or mixture of metals that would be hard enough to support the inscribing of characters. Finally, the inscribed plates would have to be able to stand the test of time for others to handle, read, transport across a country and to be legible for translation.
Through these pictures we get a glimpse of their struggles to bring forth the words commanded them by the Almighty God to benefit mankind, speaking of eternal life through the Christ.
We find through world archeology and history that for thousands of years there is left behind evidence of ancient uses of metals which were used for religious rites, including inscriptions for instruction.
An early recording in Genesis 4:22, Cain’s son from his wife, Zillah:
“And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal Cain was Naamah.”
He was gifted with metal craftsmanship.
From the record of King Soloman we also get glimpse of the need for metals, as he was instructed to build the temple and all the instruments for sacrifice and communion with the Lord, by the Lord’s plans:
In II Chronicles 9 : 21 “For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.”
We need to now turn our thoughts upon the purpose of these sacred texts of the Book of Mormon which were preserved for us. As recorded in the beginning of the record of Mormon: “The prophet Nephi records the prophesies of his father Lehi, also a prophet, along with his own given of the Lord, and the history of their travels beginning in Jerusalem.”
1st Nephi1: 1-2; “I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore, I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days— nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore, I make a record of my proceedings in my days; yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians. And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.”
This sacred work covered a span of approximately 2300 years of history, yet speaks of the creation account and its meaning, the fall and plan of redemption for mankind, and also of the coming of Jesus Christ in the clouds and the end of time as we know it:”
1st Nephi 1:17; “Behold I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after that I have abridged the record of my father, then will I make an account of mine own life.”
1st Nephi 2:3-6; “And it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father, for they cannot be written upon these plates, for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God. For the fullness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved. Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world, I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto them which are not of the world. Wherefore, I shall give commandment unto my seed that they shall not occupy these plates with things which are not of worth unto the children of men.”
1st Nephi 5:226; “And now this I have done, and commanded my people that they should do, after that I was gone, and that these plates should be handed down from one generation to another, or from one prophet to another, until further commandments of the Lord. And an account of my making these plates shall be given hereafter; And then, behold, I proceed according to that which I have spoken; and this I do, that the more sacred things may be kept for the knowledge of my people. Nevertheless, I do not write anything upon plates, save it be that I think it be sacred.”
We realize that besides the fact that they had to make whatever plates they wrote upon, they also had to have the knowledge to develop languages, and actually be able to write on metal. Most importantly, the writers needed the appropriate amount of humility to be able to receive of the Lord as to what they should write about that would be left behind for us, for our salvation’s sake.
The prophet Lehi reads from the plates of brass that were obtained from the treasury at Jerusalem by Nephi and his brothers: in 1st Nephi 1: 157-160; “And it came to pass that they did rejoice exceedingly, and did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto the Lord; and they gave thanks unto the God of Israel. And after that they had given thanks unto the God of Israel, my father Lehi took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning. And he beheld that they did contain the five books of Moses, which gave an account of the creation of the world. And also of Adam and Eve, which were our first parents.”
As we read, they used special characters to most likely tell the story or passage to save space upon the plates. They also altered language and confused it so as to be extremely difficult to interpret, only by the power of God’s spirit and the use of interpreters or special glasses which the Lord made and provided. They needed to be guided by the Holy Spirit because of the sacred nature of the work:
Jacob 3:1 (The brother to Nephi) “Now behold, it came to pass, that I, Jacob, having ministered much unto my people, in word (and I cannot write but little of my words, because of the difficulty of engraving our words upon plates), and we know that the things which we write upon plates must remain.”
Book of Mormon 4:98-100; And now behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge in the characters, which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech. And if our plates had been sufficiently large, we should have written in the Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in the Hebrew, behold, ye would have had none imperfection in our record. But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language, and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.
Nephi is shown the record of the Jews, or the Bible to come forth to the Gentiles, then to Israel and the world: 1st Nephi 3:161-163. “And he saith unto me, The book which thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord which he hath made unto the house of Israel. And it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets. And it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord which he hath made unto the house of Israel.
This record will be instrumental to help restore knowledge to Israel: In 2nd Nephi 2: 19-22; Wherefore, the fruit of my loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; And that which shall be written by the fruit of my loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together. Unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins. And bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days.”
We cannot hope to have the space to write the importance of the content of the plates, suffice it to say they are of eternal worth declaring the plan of redemption to the house of Israel and the world: 1st Nephi 4:19-23; Wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved. And then at that day, will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God? Behold, I say unto you, Yea: they shall be remembered again among the house of Israel. We live in the extreme last days where we are viewing the words of the prophets coming to pass through a sequence of world events.
The necessity of God’s true words are so needed in a world of confusion, to declare the plan of salvation to the children of men as spoken by Jesus Christ, His Father, and witnessed by the Holy Spirit, bringing joy to mankind
There are also over 53,000 different Christian denominations teaching different doctrines. The necessity of God’s true words are so needed in a world of confusion, to declare the plan of salvation to the children of men as spoken by Jesus Christ, His Father, and witnessed by the Holy Spirit, bringing joy to mankind:
Matthew 24:14; “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Through the coming together of the Book of Mormon and the Bible we are assured of his true Gospel and its fullness. We are given knowledge, instruction and purpose for the plan of redemption through the Christ Jesus, the son of the Father. We read of the structure of His church, the Church of Christ, divine revelation, His called servants, miracles and blessings.
2nd Nephi 11:155 & Isaiah 29:18; “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book; and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.”
For those that seek out this prophecy realizes that this is being fulfilled even today as the fullness of the gospel is revealed through the Bible and the Book of Mormon. As the Lord instructed the last keeper of the plates, Moroni, the son of Mormon, buried the plates that contained the abridged records to be found in the future according to the Lord’s plan.
According to prophetic timing of the scriptures and history, a young man in his early teens by the name Joseph Smith, was visited by an angel with specific instructions upon where to find these plates. He was to be used of the Lord to translate the ancient language using the interpreters by the gift of the Holy Spirit:
2nd Nephi 11:25; “And it shall come to pass, that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book, and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered.” Mormon 4:21; “Yea, it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people; and it shall be done by the power of God; and if there be faults, they be faults of a man.” Mormon 4:33; “And no one need say, They shall not come, for they surely shall, for the Lord hath spoken it; for out of the earth shall they come, by the hand of the Lord, and none can stay it.”
The record contained upon these metal plates was now in the hands of the world in the year of our Lord 1829, to receive the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and His salvation to be declared in its fullness. This was all done to reveal the will of the Father concerning the restoration of many precious and sacred covenants, and to establish the Church of Christ once again for the last time for the world to embrace:
Isaiah 29:24; “They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. In 2nd Nephi 11:130; “For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed, shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth: for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof.
Moroni 10:3-6; “Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam, even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, and he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost; and by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things. And whatsoever thing is good, is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.”
We believe that there are many more plates with sacred records in the world that we may see someday. Many say that it would be so wonderful to have the rest of the plates, the sealed portion, more of the words of Jesus. We may, if the Lord finds us faithful with what we have, and in His time. One thing to say is that one among us must be a seer, to be truly called by the Lord, and to be commanded to look into the seer stones to read them, because they are in a language that cannot be read. This is the reason the Lord had prepared the stones. We must pray the Lord will restore this gift as well, only to the Glory of God the Father and His Son, Jesus the Christ our Savior.
May God richly bless you,
Elder Adam Porter