Jacob 4:4 — LeGrand Baker — ‘hope of his glory’
4 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; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us (Jacob 4:4).
The phrase, “hope of his glory” is used only four times in the scriptures. Two are in this verse. Later, in verse 11, Jacob will write,
11 Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.
Here the word “glory” has the same connotation which we use when we speak of the glory of the celestial world. “Hope” as it is used in this kind of context in the scriptures, does not mean wishing, or wanting, or even anticipating. The Hope which is in the context of faith, hope, and charity, means accepting a promise (covenant) as though it were already fulfilled.
Mormon is the other writer who uses the phrase. In his letter to Moroni he writes,
25 My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever (Moroni 9:25).
For Mormon, the concept of “hope” and “rest” seem to have a similar meaning.
If Jacob is using his words carefully, as I presume he is, then what I believe he is saying is that hundreds of years before the Saviour came to the earth, Jacob and other prophets anticipated with full trust the promised blessings of eternal glory. That is his testimony. His message is that that hope is available to everyone else as well.