Jacob 4:8-11 — LeGrand Baker — ancient temple code
It is amazing to me, how frequently the scriptures can speak with a new power and say things they have never said to me before. I don’t know how many times I have read today’s verses, but it is many. As a boy I memorized verse 10, and have since enjoyed both it and the context of its message. But today I read it differently from the way I have ever read it before. Dan and I have talked about part of it, but, even so, I have never seen it in its entirety as I did this morning.
v. 8 “Behold, great and marvelous are the works
[“Works” often refer to the ordinances one performs, or if not, to the way one fulfills the covenants he has made. So, in a temple context, “works” is very much a temple word. ]
of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him
[ Jacob probably used sode for the word which is translated “mysteries.” SOD means the secret workings of a council – in this and similar contexts in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, the secrets of the Council in Heaven. Dan has taught me that when I see that word, “mysteries,” we are in the middle of a discussion of the decisions of that Council. So when I saw it here, I thought, Wow! What is Jacob trying to say to me?]
and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways
[“Way,” as used by Isaiah and in the Psalms, is a code word which means the sequence of the ordinances and covenants (which is the same as the sequence of the New Year’s festival), or else, like “works” it means the path one walks (same code words) as one lives according to the ordinances and covenants he has made.]
And no man knoweth of his ways [same code word] save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.”
In the next three verses, Jacob walks us through the sequence of the New Year’s festival. He begins with references to the work of the Council, especially the creation of the earth and the creation of man.
9 For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?
10 Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand.
[One usually takes counsel from another’s mouth, but this time he admonishes his hearers to take counsel from the Lord’s HAND.]
For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.
[I leave it to you to figure out that sequence.]
Jacob then brings his hearer’s mind to the whole purpose of the ceremonies
– that is to explain one’s own personal relationship with the Saviour — but especially the Saviour’s power to cleanse and to restore one to God’s presence.
11 Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled [this requires a cleansing ] unto him [the Father] 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 [to the Father] as the first-fruits of Christ
[ the idea of “first-fruits” is about birthright blessings, the same which occur at the conclusion of the New Year’s festival. ]
unto God [the Father]
having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him
[see discussions of faith (pistis), hope, and charity in Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord ] before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.
[This is the same conclusion as one finds in Moroni 7.]
So Jacob has just walked us through the entire sequence of the Feast of Tabernacles temple drama, concluding with the same admonition with which the sequence itself concludes.