Ether 4:1 for this cause did Mosiah keep them, that they should not come unto the world until after Christ
King Mosiah was the seer who used the Urim and Thummim to translate the record of the Jaredites as contained on 24 plates of gold (Mosiah 28:11-13). Moroni is intimating that Mosiah translated the story of Mahonri's vision and kept it from going abroad among the Nephites according to the command of the Lord. Moroni could as well have said, for this cause did Mosiah keep them secret.
We are left to wonder why the Lord did not want this vision made public prior to his first advent. The reason for this is not apparent except that the experience was so sacred and holy as to be inappropriate for all but the most righteous. Even what we have now of Moses' great vision is coupled with the caution, Show them not unto any except them that believe. Even so. Amen. (Moses 1:42).
Ether 4:3 therefore I am commanded that I should hide them up
We wish that Moroni had been allowed to record this vision in greater detail. But as king Mosiah knew great things which were too sacred to be revealed until after Christ's First Coming, Moroni knew great things which were too sacred to be publicly revealed until after Christ's Second Coming. Yet someday, as promised, the things revealed to the brother of Jared will be revealed to us if we follow the counsel of Ether 4.
Bruce R. McConkie
"Even the true saints-the believing disciples, those who have accepted the gospel and received the gift of the Holy Ghost-are not prepared to receive all things. We have the fulness of the everlasting gospel, meaning we have every truth, power priesthood, and key needed to enable us to gain the fulness of salvation in our Father's kingdom. But we do not have, and are not yet prepared to receive, the fulness of gospel truth.
"This is perfectly illustrated by the fact that we do not have the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. That treasure-house of Holy Writ contains an account of the creation of the world, of the dealings of God with men in all ages of the Second Coming of the Son of Man, and of the millennial era when the earth shall rest and Zion prosper to the full-all of which we are not prepared to receive. The doctrines revealed to the brother of Jared, and which are recorded in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, were had among the Jaredites; they were known to the Nephites during their Golden Era; certainly they were known and taught in Enoch's Zion; but when the Lehite people 'dwindled in unbelief,' Moroni was commanded to 'hide them up.'" (Mortal Messiah, Book 2, p. 237)
Ether 4:4 there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared
Moroni is not subtle about how impressed he was with the vision of the brother of Jared. This was the greatest vision ever revealed to man. That statement should be coupled with Moroni's statement about the power of his writings, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them (Ether 12:24). The great and glorious work of the Lord, when revealed through this vision, will be truly overpowering. The vision which Moses saw was similar and he greatly marveled and wondered (Moses 1:8). While we all have moments when we are overcome by the mercy of God, by his wisdom and love, these moments are but brief glimpses of his power and glory-as Paul said, For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face (1 Cor 13:13). The brother of Jared and Moses saw face to face and so will we if we follow the counsel contained in the Book of Mormon.
Neal A. Maxwell
"The sealed portion yet to come forth will be very valuable. (3 Nephi 26:10-11.) In fact, this sweeping portion will contain 'a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof' (2 Nephi 27:7, 10-11). Such a cumulative record yet to be revealed is something to be awaited with 'anxious expectation' in that 'time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld,' as the Prophet Joseph was promised in the prison-temple (D&C 121:27-28)." (But For a Small Moment, p. 37)
Ether 4:5 he hath commanded me that I should seal them up
"Moroni wrote his account of the vision of the brother of Jared on the plates of Mormon, but he was commanded by the Lord to 'seal up' this account. (Ether 4:4-5.) Joseph Smith was commanded not to translate this sealed portion. It is not absolutely clear what portion of the plates of Mormon was sealed. Joseph Smith simply said: 'The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed.' (History of the Church, 4:537.) George Q. Cannon said that 'about one-third' was sealed (Young Peoples' History of Joseph Smith, p. 25), whereas Orson Pratt maintained that the sealed portion comprised 'about two-thirds' of the plates. (Journal of Discourses, 3:347.) Neither of these two brethren indicate where they obtained their information." (Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion To Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 320)
Ether 4:6 they shall not go forth...until the day that they shall repent
This verse indicates that the wickedness of the Gentiles will keep the Lord from publicly revealing the vision of the brother of Jared. From other passages in the Book of Mormon, we have no reason to believe that the Gentiles, as a people, will repent before the Second Coming of the Lord (see 3 Ne 16,20,21). Therefore, this revelation will not be revealed, except to certain righteous individuals, until after the Second Coming of the Lord.
Ether 4:7 in that day that they shall exercise faith in me...then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw
Bruce R. McConkie
"From these revelations we learn that there are no limitations placed upon any of us. Revelations are not reserved for a limited few or for those called to positions of importance in the Church. It is not position in the Church that confers spiritual gifts. It is not being a bishop, a stake president, or an apostle that makes revelation and salvation available. These are high and holy callings which open the door to the privilege of great service among men. But it is not a call to a special office that opens the windows of revelation to a truth seeker. Rather it is personal righteousness; it is keeping the commandments; it is seeking the Lord while he may be found.
"God is no respecter of persons. He will give revelation to me and to you on the same terms and conditions. I can see what Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw in the vision of the degrees of glory -- and so can you. I can entertain angels and see God, I can receive an outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit -- and so can you." (Conference Report, Oct. 1969, p. 82)
Anthony W. Ivins
"This sealed portion of the record which came into the hands of Joseph Smith but was not translated by him so far as we are aware, the abridgment made by Mormon, the record of Ether, and the other sacred records which were deposited in the Hill Cumorah, still lie in their repository, awaiting the time when the Lord shall see fit to bring them forth, that they may be published to the world.
"Whether they have been removed from the spot where Mormon deposited them we cannot tell, but this we know, that they are safe under the guardianship of the Lord, and that they will be brought forth at the proper time as the Lord has declared they should be, for the benefit and blessing of the people of the world, for his word never fails." (Conference Report, Apr. 1928, p. 15)
Ether 4:8 he that shall deny these things...unto them will I show no greater
Bruce R. McConkie
"How can those who do not believe and obey the law already given ever expect to receive more revelation from on high? If men will not believe the Book of Mormon, they shut out of their lives the other revelations that have come in this dispensation. And if they do not believe all that God has now revealed, what justification would there be for him to reveal other great and important things pertaining to his earthly affairs and his heavenly kingdom?" (Mortal Messiah, Book 4, p. 371)
Ether 4:11 he that believeth these things...him will I visit with the manifestations of my spirit
This is a statement and promise directly from the Lord. He is saying that if we believe in the Book of Mormon, we will be blessed with the manifestations of his Spirit and we will be given a testimony of the truth of the Book of Mormon. This verse has come true for millions who have studied the Book of Mormon and applied the promise contained in Moroni 10:3-5. The preceding verse speaks of the dramatic moment when the unbelieving at the last day will be shown that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, for ye shall know that it is I that speaketh, at the last day. Hopefully, this realization will come to the reader much sooner than that.
Dallin H. Oaks
"...a manifestation of the Holy Ghost...is given to acquaint sincere seekers with the truth about the Lord and his gospel. For example, the prophet Moroni promises that when we study the Book of Mormon and seek to know whether it is true, sincerely and with real intent, God will 'manifest' the truth of it unto us, 'by the power of the Holy Ghost' (Moro. 10:4). Moroni also records this promise from the Risen Lord: 'He that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true' (Ether 4:11).
"These manifestations are available to everyone. The Book of Mormon declares that the Savior 'manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people' (2 Ne. 26:13). " (Conference Report, Nov. 1996 Ensign, "Always Have His Spirit")
Ether 4:12 whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me
See commentary for Moroni 7:13-19.
Ether 4:12 he that will not believe my words will not believe me-that I am
Neal A. Maxwell
"We need to feast upon the words of Christ in the scriptures and as these words come to us from living prophets. Just nibbling occasionally will not do. (See 2 Nephi 31:20 and 32:3.) Feasting means partaking with relish and delight and savoring-not gorging episodically in heedless hunger, but partaking gratefully, dining with delight, at a sumptuous spread carefully and lovingly prepared by prophet-chefs over the centuries. These words plus the gift of the Holy Ghost will tell us all things we should do. The scriptures, ancient and continuing, are the key of knowledge. . .Appreciation for and the acceptance of the scriptures and the words of the living prophets are much more important steps than many realize. The Lord has said, '. . . he that will not believe my words will not believe me-that I am.' (Ether 4:12.) To turn aside His teachings is to turn away from Him, and disdain for His doctrines is disdain for Him." (Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward, p. 28)
Ether 4:12 For behold, I am the Father
Bruce R. McConkie
"In the usual manner of speaking, the Father and the Son are two separate personages who are united as one in purpose and plan and in character and attributes. Christ is the Firstborn spirit offspring of the Father in pre-existence, the Only Begotten in the flesh. But there are three specific scriptural senses in which Christ is spoken of and known as the Father:
(1) He is the Father in the sense of being the Creator and is thus referred to as 'the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.' (Ether 4:7.)
(2) He is the Father of those who abide in his gospel. Faithful saints who receive him have power given them to become his sons. (D. & C. 39:4.) Those who are 'spiritually begotten... are born of him'; they become 'the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters.' (Mosiah 5:7.)
(3) He is the Father by divine investiture of authority. That is, the Father places his own name, power, authority, and Godship on the Son, and empowers him to act and speak in the first person as though he were the Father so that his words and acts become and are those of the Father. All things are truly delivered to him by his Father."
(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:468)
Ether 4:13 Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things
"'Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will shew unto you the greater things...[quotes verses 13-19]
"I have felt disposed to read these paragraphs, for I highly esteem the Book of Mormon, as I presume do all the Latter-day Saints. But many lay it upon the shelf and let it remain there for a year or two, consequently they become careless concerning the dealings of the Lord with the Former-day Saints.
"You are not to suppose that you are going to be jumped into the midst of revelations, and by one great and grand step are to burst the vail, and to rend it from your eyes, do you think that you are to step into the celestial kingdom and see it all at once? No, these blessings are by far too precious to be attained in such a way; they are to be attained by diligence and faith from day to day, and from night to night. Hence you are to become habituated to do good in your thoughts and conduct, in all that you do, until you become perfectly initiated into the great principles of righteousness, and continue to live uprightly until it becomes a kind of second nature to be honest, to be prudent, to govern all your passions, and bring all of the influences of the flesh, of the fallen nature, into the most perfect subjection to the law of God." (Journal of Discourses, 3:348)
Ether 4:15 when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief
Jeffrey R. Holland
"The Book of Mormon is predicated on the willingness of men and women to 'rend that veil of unbelief' in order to behold the revelations-and the Revelation-of God. The brother of Jared may not have had great belief in himself, but his belief in God was unprecedented. In that there is hope for us all. His faith was without doubt or limit.
"'I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger.' (Ether 3:4) From the moment of that utterance, the brother of Jared and the reader of the Book of Mormon would never again be the same. Once and for all it was declared that ordinary people with ordinary challenges could rend the veil of unbelief and enter the realms of eternity. And Christ, who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem his people, would stand in all his glory at the edge of that veil, ready to receive the believers and show them 'how great things the Father had laid up' for them at the end of faith's journey. (Ether 4:14)" (Christ And The New Covenant, p. 29)
Ether 4:16 my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John
The most obvious interpretation of this verse is that the house of Israel will someday know that the Lord has not forgotten the covenants made to their fathers (v. 15). These covenants are not completely fulfilled until Christ's Second Coming when Jerusalem and Zion are redeemed. Therefore, when the Lord says, then shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John be unfolded in the eyes of all the people, he is referring to the Second Coming, when all the dramatic and glorious things spoken of in the book of Revelation will be brought to pass and made manifest in very deed.
However, we should not assume that John did not write more. The Lord specifically referred to his revelations (note the plural form). It seems likely that the Lord had reference other unrevealed writings of John the Revelator when he spoke of great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world (v. 15). This too, like the vision of the brother of Jared, is yet to be revealed.
Neal A. Maxwell
"Many more scriptural writings will yet come to us, including those of Enoch (see D&C 107:57), all of the writings of the Apostle John (see Ether 4:16), the records of the lost tribes of Israel (see 2 Nephi 29:13), and the approximately two-thirds of the Book of Mormon plates that were sealed: 'And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth' (2 Nephi 27:11). Today we carry convenient quadruple combinations of the scriptures, but one day, since more scriptures are coming, we may need to pull little red wagons brimful with books." (A Wonderful Flood of Light, p. 18)
"John enjoys a special place in the Book of Mormon, where he is the only future prophet mentioned by name. His special office, however, is not to serve as a prophet so much as a recorder. It is John, the man in the white robe whom Nephi sees in a vision, who is to write the fullest record of the Lord's ministry (1 Nephi 14:19-25) and the accurate setting forth of his words as they proceeded out of his mouth, 'plain and pure, and most precious and easy to understand of all men' (1 Nephi 14:23); but his record and those of others to whom the Lord 'hath shown all things' are to be 'sealed up to come forth in their purity' after the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon--hence Nephi was forbidden to write them (1 Nephi 14:25-26). When the Book of Mormon has been brought forth and introduced to the house of Israel, then shall they 'know that the work of the Father has commenced upon all the face of the land' (Ether 4:17), and when the people begin to believe, 'then shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John be unfolded in the eyes of all the people;. . . the time is at hand that they shall be made manifest in very deed' (Ether 4:16)." (Since Cumorah, p. 206)