Tag: prophetic perfect tense

2 Nephi 31: 10-11

2 Nephi 31: 10-11:

“And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father? And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.”

Notice the “prophetic-perfect” tense, where Nephi speaks of the Lord’s future conduct as if it were in the past. This is what happens when a prophet speaks in prophecy. To the prophet, the events are in the past because he was shown it before writing it.  Although the event has not occurred yet, the prophet remembers it in his mind and to him it is a past event.

This “remembering” the future makes the mind of the prophet akin to the mind of God.

Nephi again addresses his “beloved brethren” in this plea. Can we “follow Jesus” and not keep commandments? Is “be willing to keep the commandments” the same as “keeping the commandments?” Are all commandments to be kept? What about those that create conflict?  How did Christ resolve the conflict between the commandment to do good and honor God on the Sabbath, with the commandment to do no work on the Sabbath? Are some commandments objective and without conflict (like baptism) while others may conflict with each other? Can you keep them all? Do you think you even know them all? How do you resolve conflicts? How do you make up for the wrongs you do in ignorance? (Mosiah 3: 11.)

Notice the quote Nephi reports from “the Father.” Again, Nephi is telling us something about his associations. He says the Father has stated: “Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.” You can search all the scriptures and you will find this quote appears in this one place. Nephi is quoting the Father. Where did Nephi get the quote from if it does not otherwise appear in scripture?

What does that tell you about Nephi? What does it tell you about the Father’s view of baptism? What does it tell you about the actions of Christ and the will of the Father? Why does the Father refer to Christ as “my Beloved Son” while speaking of baptism?

With what emotion does the Father express Himself about Christ?  Does that emotion attach to any of those who do as Christ did?  Does it please the Father when we are baptized? Why?

What is God’s work? (Moses 1: 39.) How does baptism relate to this work? How do we “follow Christ” without seeking to do everything He did? Can we do all He did? Why did Joseph say we must go from one exaltation to another? What does Joseph refer to when he explained: “you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.”  (King Follett Discourse.) This was long after Joseph received the Vision of the Three Degrees of Glory found in Section 76. Section 76 was received February 16, 1832 while the King Follett Discourse was given April 7, 1844. Remember that all of what was seen in the vision was not recorded by Joseph: “But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;  Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful forman to utter.” (D&C 76: 114-115.) Why would some things be known to a prophet but “not lawful” for him to reveal to others?

What does the idea of “following Christ” imply, if it were taken to its fullest extent? Why would that require someone to go “from one small degree to another?” What would be involved for someone to pass “from exaltation to exaltation,” as Joseph mentions in this discourse in April, 1844? How fully must we follow Christ?

If it is God’s work to bring to pass immortality and eternal life for His children, then must God work out salvation for His children to confer upon them immortality and eternal life? If another becomes “like God” will they undertake the same work?  Will it require the same price to be paid? Is there another way?

Isaiah 53:1

Isaiah 53: 1 begins with the questions:
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
These two questions remain as timely today as they were when asked 750 years before Christ’s birth.  As to the first question:
The report is Isaiah’s testimony of the coming Messiah.
It is plural, although delivered by a lone prophet, because God Himself authorized the message to be delivered.  Therefore it is not “my” but rather “our” report.
The question concerns the audience’s “belief” in the report, because it contradicts the ideas held by them.  It will tell them something remarkably different from what they though to be true.

As to the second question:

“The arm of the Lord” is a symbol of His strength or might.
To have the strength of the Lord revealed to someone is to have them come into knowledge of Him and His ways.

His ways are not what men presume they are.  They are directed to much higher, much holier ends.  The strength of the Lord as it will unfold in the chapter which follows is based upon the suffering He undertook for us.

The chapter that follows this opening verse is framed in the past tense.  This is called the “prophetic perfect” tense.  To the prophet, the events have been seen. To him, they are in the past. Therefore, future events are framed as if they already occurred.  Prophets to whom things are shown will often frame their message in the past tense, even though they speak of things in the future.  You find it throughout prophecy.