Jacob 4:11 - 4:18
Jacob 4:11 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.
Therefore use the atonement as your excuse to approach God for the help we all need. Christ will die so that we can use the atonement as the tool to come to God to tell Him that we recognize our fallen state and that we are truly dependent on Him for all the things we desire. We can say to our Father: “Look what Christ did for us and the suffering He went through on our behalf, therefore give audience to our needs and wants.” Referring to the atonement, give us creditability in the eyes of God. It is recognition that we realize our dependence on Him for our progression in this and the next life. God wants us to recognize from where our blessings come, so we can therefore obtain more. Instruction is impossible if we will not listen to the source of true knowledge.
Jacob 4:12 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?
The people were astounded over what Jacob was preaching to them. They were wondering why he was teaching about Christ? The reason was that if they would base their lives on His gospel they would not go wrong. They would have the basic knowledge of knowing how to live. They would have the atonement as a tool for them to receive help in repenting of their misdeeds and sins. They would also have a knowledge of the world to come to be enjoyed with a resurrected body.
Jacob 4:13 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 is plain in his speech, like his brother Nephi. He gets to the point in language that no one can misinterpret. The Spirit also works in this way. It tells of the conditions of the people at that moment and how they will be in the future. He cannot mince words, their eternal salvation depends on his plainness of speech so they cannot say they were not warned as the people were warned in time passed by prophets.
Jacob 4:14 But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.
The Jews in the pass had hard time with the plainness of the prophesying. They thought things should be more complicated or require harder things to do for salvation. They were so convinced that the regulations had to be more than what the prophets were saying and they killed them when they tried to convince them otherwise. The Lord seeing that they wanted things harder to live up to gave them the kind of laws and regulations they sought for. The result was 613 laws that required great effort to not only know them all but to live up too. Where they could have lived under two injunctions of love God and their neighbor, they wanted detailed regulations that would cover all the situations of life. This in turn would be the basis to create more laws to cover new situation not thought of at first. This would be all written down and then referred to when questions of proper behavior or reactions were sought for. However, the shear magnitude of number of the laws made it hard for the Jews to know all the regulations. This would in turn, cause them frustration because they would have to refer to a book to know what to do or how to react.
Jacob 4:15 And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation.
Jacob is told by the Spirit, that because the Jews prefer having this kind of setup to regulate their lives, they will reject the Messiah who will come to again preach the two simple injunctions of loving God and one’s neighbor. This will mean that they will not see the great importance of the atonement and how it can point them to the correct path back to God. The will not believe it could be so simple. And in addition, it will would mean all their efforts over the years to come up with all the regulations to cover all situations in life was a waste of time. Then couple these things with the fact that the leadership, in place, who were the interpreters of the laws, would not be needed anymore. They would be forced to live life everyone else and they would not enjoy the power and prestige of their offices.
Jacob 4:16 But behold, according to the scriptures, this stone shall become the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Jews can build.
They will miss out on the real foundation they should build their lives on. Not the books of laws and regulations but the simple requirements of the Gospel.
Jacob 4:17 And now, my beloved, how is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can ever build upon it, that it may become the head of their corner?
Jacob asked the people to think how could anyone pull themselves out of this dilemma. How could anyone throw off a life style which is built on detailed laws regulating behavior which really do not create feelings of love for ones’ neighbor and only anger if one loses his case in court, and come to a system of two simple injunctions?
Jacob 4:18 Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you; if I do not, by any means, get shaken from my firmness in the Spirit, and stumble because of my over anxiety for you.
This is a hard thing to do and Jacob will reveal how the Lord will accomplish this, if Jacob can keep his composure. He really is worried about his people and he might break away from his object and revert back to being plain of speech concerning their rotten behavior.