Brother of Jared Seeing the Finger of the Lord, by Arnold Friberg
I think most of us are generally familiar with the story of the brother of Jared, but just as a refresher I’ll provide a recap. He and his family lived when the language is confounded at the time of the building of the tower of babel. He cries to the Lord and is able to continue communicating with his friends and family. Then, when the Lord tells them to prepare for a monumental journey to the promised land, they do just that. They prepare for this great journey and are led all along the way by the Lord himself. Just prior to actually setting off into the ocean, the brother of Jared was trying to get a few “small” questions answered and went to the Lord in humility for a little bit more guidance (and to calm his fears). What happened was pretty amazing. In chapters 2 and 3 of Ether we learn:
- The Lord continually provided the brother of Jared with revelation including specific instructions for preparation
- The Lord provided an opportunity for the brother of Jared to struggle with and develop a solution for his problems, and be rewarded for his work
- The Lord caused the stones that the brother of Jared prepared to “shine forth in darkness” (Ether 3:4-6)
- The Lord showed himself unto the brother of Jared (Ether 3:13)
- The brother of Jared was redeemed him from the fall and was brought back into the Lord’s presence (Ether 3:13)
- The Lord ministered unto the brother of Jared even as he ministered unto the Nephites (Ether 3:17-18)
- The Lord gave the brother of Jared two stones (Ether 3:23) “that shall magnify to the eyes of men the things he should write”
- The Lord showed the brother of Jared “all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be, even unto the ends of the earth” (Ether 3:25-26)
In reality, the Lord literally showed the brother of Jared “all things”. And “there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared” (Ether 4:4). But, since I want to really emphasize both the number and the quality of “things” that the Lord showed him, I will include the list of things that the Lord did while He ministered among the Nephites, specifically because Moroni tells us that the Lord did indeed minister to the brother of Jared “even as he ministered unto the Nephites” (meaning just as recorded in 3 Ne. chapters 11-26) where we learn that:
- Jesus showed himself unto them one by one and allowed each of them to feel his wounds (3 Ne. 11:14-15)
- Jesus gave them power (3 Ne. 11:21-22)
- Jesus taught them true doctrines and principles (including particulars regarding ordinances) and expounded the scriptures and the prophets unto them (3 Ne. 11:23-41, all of 3 Ne. 12-16; 19:10-23:5; and 23:14)
- He blessed and healed them (3 Ne. 17:5-10) and their children (3 Ne. 17:11-12; 21, see also 3 Ne. 26:15)
- Christ himself prayed with and for them (3 Ne. 17:13-18; 19:19-24; 19:27-29; 19:31)
- He wept with them due to joy – even until his joy was full (3 Ne. 17:21-22)
- Jesus facilitated the ministering of angels and they were all encircled about with fire (3 Ne. 17:24; 19:14-15)
- He instituted the sacrament (3 Ne. 18: 1-14; 19:8-9; 26:13)
- He gave them the Holy Ghost (3 Ne. 18:36-37; 19:13)
- Jesus shone the light of his countenance upon them (3 Ne. 19:25,30)
- He prayed “words which cannot be written by man” in their presence (3 Ne. 19:32-33)
- He performed a miracle of feeding them bread and wine when there was none (3 Ne. 19:3-7)
- He gave them new scripture (3 Ne. 24-25; 26:2)
- He expounded all things unto them, both great and small (3 Ne. 23:14; 26:1,3-5)
- He taught and ministered with them for 3 days (3 Ne. 26:13)
- He loosed the children’s tongues (26:14) that they could “speak things which were unlawful for man to utter”
- He revealed “even greater things” unto the children (26:14)
So, now we are looking at quite the list of accomplishments when the Lord ministered to the Nephites, which by reference were things that can be included in our understanding of the ministration to the brother of Jared. But let us remember that the author puts all of these great things outlined in 3 Ne. 11-26 in context by telling us that “there cannot be written even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people” (3 Ne. 26:6). Numerically (and just for emphasis), that means that if we review the 17 items on that list and that’s not even a hundredth part, we really could make a bullet list of over 1,700 things that were pretty great. Combine that with Moroni’s statement regarding the abridgment the Jaredite record that tells us he “could not make a full account of these things” (the brother of Jared’s encounter) – and we can truly understand that we are only getting a tiny sampling of how amazing both events really were.
Hopefully these lists of amazing items help us realize the absolute gravity and weight of a simple phrase like “these things” or “all this” when it refers to ministering visits from the Lord.
That brings us to the question; “why are we making a list of amazing things that the Lord showed the brother of Jared?”
The answer is found in Ether 3:18 which reads “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.”
All this (everything on these lists, and a hundred times more), that this man (this one man in the singular) might know that he was God. This small and simple statement tells us that the Lord did all these great works and made himself known just so that the brother of Jared would know that he was God (which naturally leads to faith, repentance, improvement, etc.). That seems like a lot of time and work and effort went into making sure one guy knew the truth, especially when we remember that this is a man who is pretty confident that the Lord was in charge all along the way.
The message is that the Lord will show each one of us “all this” just so that we might know that he is God just like he did for the brother of Jared. He says it himself (through the allegory of the olive trees) when “the Lord of the vineyard said again unto his servant: Look hither, and behold another branch also, which I have planted; behold that I have nourished it also, and it hath brought forth fruit. And he said unto the servant: Look hither and behold the last. Behold, this have I planted in a good spot of ground; and I have nourished it this long time… behold; I have nourished this tree like unto the others” (Jacob 5:24-25). Each of us is a tree “like unto the others” meaning that we will be “nourished this long time” individually by the Lord of the vineyard.
Remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him (D&C 18:10-11). He is intimately invested in each of us, and has already offered his down payment.
I wonder, if we set out to make a list of all the “things” that the Lord has done for us as individuals to show that he is God, if it wouldn’t look very similar to the brother of Jared’s list; to the point where if we are honest with ourselves we might be able to recognize that the Lord has in fact “manifest himself unto us in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of our stumbling blocks” (1 Ne. 14:1).
And all this, that we might know that he is God.