Thursday, February 2, 2017

Teenage Challenge Questions – Ether 3

We have a separate devotional for our older children before the younger ones wake up in the morning. We ask a lot of questions and are constantly discovering new things. It's amazing how much we miss when we read the Book of Mormon without stopping to ask questions, examining the meaning of words, and looking deeper into what is being communicated. A careful study of the Book of Mormon is really quite exciting. We are enjoying our early morning study time.

There are hundreds of questions you could ask with every chapter you read. Here's over a hundred questions to consider. Many more questions could still be asked.

Questions for Discussion

What is the significance of the number eight? Eight is new beginning. For example, on the eighth day a new week begins. Where else do you see the number eight in scripture? How many souls were on Noah's ark? What age can we be baptized? What day was John the Baptist circumcised? How many witnesses did Joseph Smith show the gold plates to? Can you think of other examples? What did the brother of Jared do to make 16 clear small stones? Who came up with the idea? How much effort did he put into the preparations? Is there any significance of getting the rock from the same mount where he prayed to the Lord? Have you ever cried unto the Lord?

1 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying:

Why did the brother of Jared think the Lord might be angry with him because of his weakness? See Genesis 11:1-9 and Ether 1:33. Has the brother of Jared seen what happens to those who experience the anger of the Lord? What is the brother of Jared concerned about? In Ether 2:14-15 he was chastened for not calling upon the name of the Lord for his brethren, how does his prayer in these verses show he has repented? Why did the brother of Jared reference the commandment of the Lord when crying unto the Lord? When we come to Jesus with His words are praying in the name of Jesus? How is fulfilling the commandments of the Lord show forth faith? How does the brother of Jared see himself when compared to Jesus?

2 O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.

Why were the Jaredites smitten? Why were they driven forth? Yet, what did the Brother of Jared say about how the Lord has been toward them? In your troubles, do you see the Lord's merciful hand in your life? Can you imagine how the brother of Jared must have felt as he asked Jesus to look at the stones in his hands? This was his best work. He did carefully molten each one of those small stones out of rock.

3 Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been merciful unto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock.

How does the brother of Jared know the Lord has all power? Do we have the belief or faith to come before Jesus with confidence in the Lord's power?

4 And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.

Why does the Lord's great power, look small unto the understanding of men?

5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.

Was the brother of Jared still holding the stones in his hands when the Lord touched them? Do you think he could he feel the pressure on his hand as each stone was touched? Could he feel each stone being touch before he saw the Lord's finger? Why did the Lord touch each stone one by one instead of speaking and giving light to the stones? How could Jesus come in flesh and blood long before He is born? What is this veil which covers our eyes? Why was the brother of Jared struck with fear?

6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.

What would you do if you knew Jesus was standing right in front of you, but you couldn't see Him? What was the significance of Jesus telling the brother of Jared to arise? Why did Jesus ask him why he had fallen? Why did he think the Lord would smite him? What are your beliefs about Jesus that are not correct? After the brother of Jared saw the Lord's flesh and blood why did he think the Lord would smite him?

7 And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen?
8 And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.

Faith is a principle of action based on a true belief. What were the brother of Jared's beliefs? What were his actions? What was the result of his faith? Why couldn't he have seen the finger of the Lord without faith? What was the Lord's purpose in asking the brother of Jared if he saw more than his finger? Is this question answer session essential so that we come to the Lord at our pace instead of the Lord setting the pace?

9 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?
10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.

Why is Jesus asking the brother of Jared if he believes the words which he is going to speak? Did he have to hear the words of Jesus before he could determine whether they were true or not? How did he come to know the Lord is a God of truth?

11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.

Can you pick out the essential elements in the brother of Jared's walk back into the presence of the Lord? Can you be redeemed from the fall without being brought back into the Lord's presence? What does the brother of Jared now know?

13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

How was Jesus prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem his people? Who will Jesus redeem? How is Jesus Christ both the Father and the Son? What does it mean to believe on His name? What is eternal life? How come we can't have life eternally without believing on the name of Jesus Christ? When do we become Jesus Christ's sons and daughters? What happens to all who don't become Jesus Christ's sons and daughters?

14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.

How did Jesus show Himself unto the brother of Jared differently than the prophets who came before him? Enoch lived before the brother of Jared. Didn't Enoch and his people walk and talk with God (Moses 7:69)? Before this time did the brother of Jared know he was created after the image of God?

15 And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.

Did Jesus touch the stones with His spirit body or His flesh and blood body? What does it mean “man have I created after the body of my spirit”? What is the difference between a spirit body and a flesh body?

16 Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.

Why couldn't Moroni make a full account of these things? In what manner did Jesus show himself unto the Nephites? What body did Jesus show unto the Nephites? Did the brother of Jared touch the wounds in Jesus' hands, feet, and side as the Nephites did?

17 And now, as I, Moroni, said I could not make a full account of these things which are written, therefore it sufficeth me to say that Jesus showed himself unto this man in the spirit, even after the manner and in the likeness of the same body even as he showed himself unto the Nephites.

How were the Nephites ministered unto? When you come into the presence of Jesus will He minister to you in like manner? Why did the brother of Jared need to be ministered to in this manner to know Jesus was God? Why did Jesus show him many great works? How did Moses tell the difference between God and Satan (Moses 1)?

18 And he ministered unto him even as he ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God, because of the many great works which the Lord had showed unto him.

How did the brother of Jared get knowledge? How did knowledge give him access to see inside the veil? What is the veil? What is it to see inside the veil? Why did he fall with fear when he saw Jesus' finger? What does it mean to know without a shadow of a doubt?

19 And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting.

Why couldn't he be kept from within the veil after receiving a perfect knowledge of God? What happens when you see Jesus? What is covering Jesus from our view? What is this veil?

20 Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him.

Why didn't the Lord want these things to go forth unto the world until the time when He glorfied His name in the flesh? Is going forth unto the world the same thing as going forth to other believers (Mosiah 28:7)? This record was found before Jesus Christ came in the flesh (Mosiah 8, Ether 4:1)? Was the brother of Jared allowed to tell anyone about what he saw and heard? What does it mean to treasure up? What kind of treasures do we seek?

21 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt not suffer these things which ye have seen and heard to go forth unto the world, until the time cometh that I shall glorify my name in the flesh; wherefore, ye shall treasure up the things which ye have seen and heard, and show it to no man.

Did the brother of Jared continue to come unto Jesus after this manifestation? What did he do with all manifestations of Jesus? Did the brother of Jared have the sealing power? How did the brother of Jared seal up the record? In what language did the brother of Jared write these things?

22 And behold, when ye shall come unto me, ye shall write them and shall seal them up, that no one can interpret them; for ye shall write them in a language that they cannot be read.

Why were two stones sealed up with the record?

23 And behold, these two stones will I give unto thee, and ye shall seal them up also with the things which ye shall write.

Was this language the same language which was confounded at the tower of babel? If so, was the language confounded for the brother of Jared? How would stones magnify to eyes of men these things?

24 For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write.

Why is showing the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth an important part of God's ministry? How did this ministry give the brother knowledge that Jesus was God? How is the spirit of prophecy connected with receiving the testimony of Jesus?

25 And when the Lord had said these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth.

When had Jesus told the brother of Jared that IF he would believe in him that he could show him all things? How seriously and literally did the brother of Jared take Jesus' words? How did he know not merely believe the Lord could show him all things?

26 For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things—it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things.

Who would show these things unto the children of men? When?

27 And the Lord said unto him: Write these things and seal them up; and I will show them in mine own due time unto the children of men.

Did you notice the Lord repeats His instructions more than once? What is the purpose for this repetition? How many times does the Lord command him to seal up the record and show them not to the children of men (see also Ether 4:1)? Were these the two stones Joseph Smith used (JSH 1:52)?

28 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that he should seal up the two stones which he had received, and show them not, until the Lord should show them unto the children of men.

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