Jacob 7:1 - 7:5
Jacob 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.
After some time, a man came among the Nephites and his name was Sherem
Jacob 7:2 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.
He began to preach that there was no such thing as a Messiah to come to the earth. Apparently he was saying things that the people like to hear. But it was his desire to overthrow the whole concept of the atonement and the need for a savior. [His preaching may have been appealing because the people could live as they wanted without worrying about if their actions were wrong and if so needing correction. I’m thinking they did not want to have to think to much about repercussions of their thoughts and actions.]
Jacob 7:3 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.
This Sherem worked hard at proselyting among the Nephites and had captured the loyalty of many of the people. He became arrogant enough to want to debate Jacob of the superiority of his concepts over the doctrines of Christ. [I guess Sherem thought he could convince anyone about the validity of what he was spreading around the people. Having gathered a following probably elevated his confidence in his abilities to argue with anyone.]
Jacob 7:4 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.
He was a good speaker and knew the language of the people perfectly. He knew how to craft speeches to convince his listeners to the validity of his positions. However the devil was his inspiration for his words and precepts.
Jacob 7:5 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.
Sherem had hoped to shake Jacob from his testimony in spite of the revelations Jacob had had in the past, the visions he had seen, the angels that had administered to him from time to time. Jacob had even talked with the Jesus personally. [I’m not sure that Sherem knew this, but he wanted to debate Jacob so as to promote himself and his cause.