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Gramps,

In Jacob 4:11 it says 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.  Now we know that all will be resurrected so why does it say ‘may’?  Thank you.

Michael

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Answer

 

Dear Michael,

First, let’s go and find out from the source what Jacob knew.  In 2 Nephi chapter 2, Lehi is speaking directly to Jacob.  In verses 8-10, we see that Lehi taught that the dead would be resurrected, that “all men” would stand before God to be judged – the implication being that this is after the resurrection (emphasis mine):

8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.

 

9 Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.

 

10 And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement—

Next, we see Jacob himself teaching in 2 Nephi 9, and here, his teaching leaves no doubt that Jacob knew that all will be resurrected:

11 And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.

 

12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.

 

13 O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.

 

14 Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.

 

15 And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.

22 And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day.

From the above (and a few other verses), it seems clear that Jacob understood well the fact that all men would be resurrected.  So let’s take a close look at Jacob 4:11.  I’m going to break it apart a bit to make it more clear what he’s saying:

Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may:

 

(i) obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ,

 

(ii) 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.

Jacob is not just encouraging his listeners to hope for a resurrection, but for the first resurrection – to be “the first-fruits of Christ” and to have “hope of glory in him”.  This is nothing short of exaltation that Jacob is describing.  At the very least, previous verses show that Jacob understood that the wicked too would be resurrected – but they would not be the first-fruits of Christ.  They would not have hope of any glory in Christ.  The conditional here is not resurrection, but a glorious resurrection.  (See also 2 Nephi 10:25 and Jacob 6:9.)

I hope this clarifies Jacob’s wording for you, and I hope that all of us will strive to obtain the glorious resurrection God has promised the faithful.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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