“They Had a Hope of Christ’s Coming—and We Can Too,” Ensign, April 2020
What words come to mind when you think of the Book of Mormon?
Nephites, Lamanites, other -ites?
War, wilderness, wo?
Repentance, redemption, righteousness?
Easter is the perfect time to ponder anew the message of the Book of Mormon. Most importantly, the message that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. Because of Him, we can eventually be freed from the pains of body and soul. From death and sin. We can overcome every bad thing the world throws at us.
Simply put, we can have hope.
Hope—true hope, centered on Jesus Christ—inspired ancient prophets to keep records on the gold plates that would become the Book of Mormon. Jacob tells us, “For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming” (Jacob 4:4; emphasis added).
Jacob wanted us to know that he—and the other record-keeping prophets—knew of Christ’s coming. Many hundreds of years before He came! And they were inspired to have that hope from the words of prophets they read. Jacob explains:
“And not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.
“Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name. …
“Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken” (Jacob 4:4–6; see also 1 Nephi 19:21; Jacob 7:11; Mosiah 3:13; Helaman 8:16).
The hope they gained from both their own experiences and the prophecies they read in the scriptures prepared them for the day Christ would come. Likewise, prophets today encourage us to prepare for when Christ will come again. If we are to have that same hope, we too need to “search the prophets, and [seek to] have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy.” Their testimonies of Jesus Christ will not only strengthen ours but also help us prepare for His coming.
“Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.”
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
“And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God. …
“And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; …
“And he shall rise the third day from the dead. …
“For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.”
“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”
“And that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.
“And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
“And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.”
“For behold, he surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord.
“Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death—that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual.
“But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord.”
“Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up.
“And he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead, whereby man must be raised to stand before his judgment-seat.
“And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.”