The Lord commanded Moroni to write and then seal up his record of the vision of the brother of Jared. Moroni explained that these writings would be revealed when men have as much faith as the brother of Jared. In addition, Moroni prophesied that three witnesses would bear testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon in the latter days.
Think of an object that is especially valuable to you or your family that you might want to keep out of the reach of small children. What would a child need to learn or do before you would trust him or her with that object?
Similarly, the Lord has valuable truths He wants to share with us, but He waits until we are ready to receive them. As you study Ether 4, look for what Moroni taught that can help you prepare to receive greater truth and guidance from the Lord.
As you read in Ether 3, the Lord showed the brother of Jared a vision of all the inhabitants of the earth—past, present, and future—and all things concerning the earth. The brother of Jared was then commanded to write what he had seen and to seal up his writings. Read Ether 4:4–5, and look for Moroni’s description of what the brother of Jared was shown. Moroni wrote about what the brother of Jared saw and was likewise commanded by the Lord to seal the vision up to come forth in the Lord’s due time. The vision that these verses refer to is included in what is commonly called the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon.
Moroni prophesied of the conditions that need to exist before the revelation given to the brother of Jared will be made known. You may want to mark these conditions in Ether 4:6–7.
To help you ponder what it means to “exercise faith in [the Lord], even as the brother of Jared” (Ether 4:7), review Ether 1–3 and list in your scripture study journal the ways the brother of Jared showed faith and trust in the Lord. Also choose and describe one of these examples that most impressed you and explain why.
Just as you would trust a child with a valuable object only under certain conditions, the Lord shares additional truths with His children only as we demonstrate our spiritual preparedness, believe in the precious truths He has already revealed, and exercise faith in Him.
Look at any window coverings in the room you are in. Think about how the window coverings limit what you can see.
Moroni used the symbol of a veil, which is similar to a window covering, to teach principles that govern how each of us can receive revelation. Read Ether 4:15, and find the phrase that includes the word veil. Notice that Moroni compared unbelief to a veil. In what ways is unbelief like a veil?
It may be helpful to understand that the word rend in Ether 4:15 means to tear. Imagine what it would be like if you could rend the veil between you and the knowledge of the Lord.
Moroni described those things that help “rend that veil of unbelief” and allow us to receive further revelation. He began by warning of an attitude that prevents us from receiving further revelation. Read Ether 4:8, and mark what would cause the Lord to hold back revelation and “show no greater things.”
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What do you think it means to “contend against the word of the Lord”? (Ether 4:8).
What are some ways a young person today might “contend against the word of the Lord”?
Moroni included the Lord’s own words to describe how to receive additional revelation from Him. Search Ether 4:11, 13–15, and mark phrases that teach what we must do to invite the Lord’s revelation and how He will respond if we do these things.
What principles concerning revelation and how to invite it into your life do you learn from these verses? You may want to write one principle you learn from these verses in your scriptures next to Ether 4:11.
One important principle we can learn from the Lord’s counsel is that as we exercise great faith in the word of the Lord, He will, in His own due time and way, bless us with further revelation.
In your scripture study journal, explain why you think you need to show faith in the word of God you have already received before the Lord will reveal more to you. Then rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being “very effective”) on how well you feel you are exercising faith in the Lord by seeking for and following His word in each of the following areas:
Following promptings you receive through the Holy Ghost
Sustaining and following leaders in your branch, ward, district, or stake
Studying the word of God in church or seminary
Personal scripture study
Following the words of the prophets and living the commandments
In your scripture study journal, describe how obeying God in one of the areas mentioned above has enabled you to receive further revelation from the Lord.
Ponder how you might incorporate this principle of exercising faith in the word of the Lord in your efforts to invite additional revelation and guidance from the Lord.
Read Ether 5:1–3. What did Moroni write in these verses that is directed to the Prophet Joseph Smith—the person who would one day translate the record on the plates? Imagine what it may have been like for Joseph Smith to encounter these verses as he was translating the Book of Mormon.
Read the following statement from President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, and look for a phrase that impresses you about the testimony of the Three Witnesses: “The Three Witnesses never denied their testimony of the Book of Mormon. They could not because they knew it was true. They made sacrifices and faced difficulties beyond what most people ever know. Oliver Cowdery gave the same testimony about the divine origin of the Book of Mormon as he lay dying. … That they continued to affirm what they saw and heard in that marvelous experience, during long periods of estrangement from the Church and from Joseph, makes their testimony more powerful” (“An Enduring Testimony of the Mission of the Prophet Joseph,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 90).
According to Ether 5:2–3, what would the Prophet Joseph Smith be privileged to do with the plates?
Just like the three men who were privileged to witness the reality of the gold plates, you too can be a witness to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. In your scripture study journal, record a few ways you can also be a witness of the Book of Mormon. In addition, write how your witness of the Book of Mormon could influence other people.
Prayerfully seek opportunities to share your witness of the Book of Mormon with someone this week.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Ether 4–5 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: