Mormon compiled the Book of Mormon; he started with the journey of Lehi and his family and abridged the entire record up to Mormon, Chapter 7. All of this took place sometime between 385 and 400 AD. While writing this abridgement of the history of his people, he found the small plates of Nephi, and added those to the book.
In the Words of Mormon, we read,
“And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written; for after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake…” (Words of Mormon 1:3)
After extensive study of the Words of Mormon – too lengthy to detail here, we learn that he is referring to the section of the Book of Mormon that was lost after the original first 116 pages were given to Martin Harris – not a portion of the record that we currently read from. The two records match up chronologically.
These are his last words to the Gentiles:
“And then, O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways?
Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll?
Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him, lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver.” (Mormon 5:22–24)
His last words to the Remnant are in Mormon, chapter 7. It’s too long to include in this text, so I recommend you review it, before reading further, and note the vast difference in the message to the Gentiles vs. the Remnant.
Mormon chapter 8 picks up with Moroni saying he will finish the work of his father, because his father has been killed.
We now move to the portion of the Book of Mormon where Moroni has abridged the writing of Ether. This brings me to the point of this series, and the reason we are studying these things.
I turn now to the last direct words to us from Christ in the Book of Mormon. Moroni is speaking of the great things written that are sealed up. He says:
“For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.” (Ether 4:6)
Moroni prefaces this scripture by stating that the Lord spoke to him, and continues by speaking in the first person as he quotes the Savior. He is delivering a specific message; one that he finishes by saying,
“And now I, Moroni, have written the words which were commanded me…” (Ether 5:1)
During the process of completing the last of the work of the Book of Mormon, Moroni is commanded to write a few more words directly from the Savior. What choice words these must be!
In speaking of the Greater Things that are sealed up and hidden He says:
“… They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.
And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.” (Ether 4:6–7)
What a promise! He says that we, the Gentiles are in iniquity. However, if we become clean and exercise faith, then we are entitled to the same offer – to see all the greater things. For those who don’t believe this promise, this warning is offered:
“And he that will contend against the word of the Lord, let him be accursed; and he that shall deny these things, let him be accursed; for unto them will I show no greater things, saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh.” (Ether 4:8)
Jumping down to verse 13, the Savior sums up the message He just gave to us by saying it AGAIN:
“Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.” (Ether 4:13)
He states twice, that if you will rend your unbelief, He will SHOW you the greater things. Although He addresses a group here (the Gentiles), He is calling you out as an individual, and admonishing you to leave the group, and become the seed of Christ.
Next, He addresses the Remnant.
“Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.” (Ether 4:14)
Note how Christ feels it important to address each group separately. The primary message however, is this – addressed to all:
“Therefore, repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and believe in my gospel, and be baptized in my name; for he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned; and signs shall follow them that believe in my name.
And blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day, for he shall be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world. And behold it is I that hath spoken it. Amen.” (Ether 4:18–19)
And this is my purpose in this series; that perhaps some, or one, may find worth in these words, and that they may find that they point them to the one who can save. Also, that we can repent, arise, shake off the dust and rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause us to remain in our awful state of wickedness, and that we may be true and faithful in all things till we converse with the Lord. Further, that we can understand both our awful state, and the glorious promises to obtain the greater things. Believe. Amen.