Jacob begins his discourses recorded in 2 Nephi 6-10 with the friendly salutation, “my beloved brethren” (2 Nephi 6:2), which he repeats twelve more times in the next five chapters. He also explains that his brother Nephi had asked him to read and explain specific writings of Isaiah. Because of Jacob’s caring style of expression and mention of his assigned topic, we initially failed to recognize that these chapters are similar to how Latter-day Prophets carefully prepare general conference addresses. Jacob’s teachings contain some of the most angelically inspired and meticulously prepared revelations ever made about the infinite atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Angelic and Prophetic Revelations
“have been slain and carried away captive,”
“that they should return,”
“that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, should manifest himself unto them in the flesh; and … they should scourge him and crucify him”;
“that they shall be smitten and afflicted,”
- “nevertheless, the Lord will be merciful unto them, that when they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be gathered again to the lands of their inheritance” (2 Nephi 6:8-11).
Jacob heard the angel speak to him approximately 41 to 55 years after Lehi’s family fled their homeland (Chapter Heading, 2 Nephi 6). Consequently, the first two revelations directly related to the current events of those Nephites listening to Jacob. The next two prophecies explain that the Lord God Himself would be born with a physical body, live in Israel, suffer many afflictions, and be crucified.
The fifth angelic revelation concerns the preaching of the gospel to Israelites and their return to their homelands in modern times.
Jacob goes on to explain that the Prophet Isaiah foresaw that the Gentiles “if it so be that they shall repent and fight not against Zion … shall be saved. …For the people of the Lord are they who wait for him” (2 Nephi 6:12-13). This encourages all peoples of all times to be anxiously waiting for the return of the Lord. Isaiah prophesies: “the Messiah will set himself again the second time to recover them; wherefore, he will manifest himself unto them in power and great glory, unto the destruction of their enemies, when that day cometh when they shall believe in him; and none will he destroy that believe in him” (2 Nephi 6:14). Ultimately, everyone will know the Savior and Redeemer of the world.
Understanding the Redeemer’s Infinite Atonement
After reading more verses from Isaiah (see Isaiah 49:24-26; 2 Nephi 6:16-18) , all of Isaiah 50-51 (2 Nephi 7-8), and two verses from Isaiah 52 (see 2 Nephi 8:24-25), Jacob delivers detailed contrasts between God’s plan of salvation and the devil’s deceptions. To gain a better understanding of the great blessings men, women, and children receive from the Lord’s atoning sacrifice, the “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the February 10-16, 2020 Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Families manual suggests employing the following study approach: “consider marking in one color what would happen to us without the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Then, in another color, you could mark what we can receive through the Savior’s Atonement.” Shown below are a few of the truths revealed from such a study approach:
These highlighted scriptures indicate some of the profound truths Jacob taught that day concerning the Lord’s infinite atonement.
Be Reconciled through Christ
The next day, Jacob planned to continue his prepared address. During the night, however, an angel again spoke to him and revealed: “Christ—…should be his name” (2 Nephi 10:3). This is the first use of the name Christ in the Book of Mormon.
This revelation—given especially to the Prophet Jacob—is an indication of how important it was for the Nephites to know their Savior by His eternal birth name. It is also a reminder for us to carefully study the Book of Mormon and “reconcile [ourselves] to the will of God, and not the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember after [we] are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that [we] are saved” (2 Nephi 10:24).