A Promise from a High Priest of the Lineage of Joseph

If you could hear the words of a High Priest at the Tabernacle on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) during the Feast of the Tabernacles (Sukkot), would you want to understand the significance of his message in regards to the Holy One of Israel and the House of Israel?  What if this wasn’t Moses, but a different High Priest speaking from a Tabernacle built in the promised land (now called America) after his father was led out of the land of Jerusalem and across the great sea?
Jacob as the High Priest preaches to the NephitesDrawing by Jody Livingston

This is Jacob, son of Lehi, and descendant of Joseph son of Israel.  He gave one of the most profound messages to his people using a covenantal structure patterned after Moses' sermon teaching the Ten Commandments, called the Suzerainty Treaty.  Several other significant patterns emerge as he teaches his people. 

First he follows this covenant  pattern, beginning his message with a preamble by identifying himself as an authority or a Sovereign “King” speaking to his Vassals, called of God, ordained after the manner of the God's Holy Order, and consecrated by his brother Nephi. 

Then, in a prologue, Jacob lovingly refers to his and his brother’s role as protectors concerned for the welfare of the souls of their people and like their father Lehi, did teach the people “all the things written from the creation of the earth.”  He also gives much historical context to his concerns as he refers to the writings of Isaiah and invites the hearers to understand those very comforting prophecies written about them, his brethren and children who are of the House of Israel, after they will be driven to and fro.   
 Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
And, Kings shall be their nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing  mothers, they shall bow down to thee with their faces towards the earth, and lick up the dust of they feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; for they shall not be ashamed who wait for me.      2 Nephi 6: 6-7
With his invitation and historical prophesy, he extends a possibility that "if those Gentiles repent and fight not against Zion, and do not unite themselves with that great and abominable church [of the devil], they shall be saved; for the Lord will fulfill his covenants which he has made unto his children and for this cause did [Isaiah] write these things."  
He stipulates that those who choose not to believe, when the Messiah will manifest himself in great power and glory, those unbelievers will experience temporal destruction. 
"by fire, and by tempest, and by earthquakes, and by bloodsheds, and by pestilence, and by famine."  2 Nephi 6:15
Isaiah's words offer the explanation of the Divine covenant made originally with Abraham:
"Look unto Abraham, your father, and unto Sarah, she that bare you; for I called him alone and blessed him."   2 Nephi 8:2; Isaiah 51:2
Then, this High Priest Jacob gives his beautiful divine witness of the great Creator fulfilling his covenants through his merciful plan, reviewing how the law must be fulfilled by the power of resurrection after the broken law of the Fall through an infinite atonement, and the blessings of restoration that shall come to the House of Israel. 


The central portion of his message then illustrates another lesser known but equally valuable type of Hebraic poetry pattern and way of learning. 

Jacob's Promise of the Restoration of the House of Israel

Jacob gives us additional layers of meaning in his loving invitation to his brethren of the House of Israel, to keep the Covenants of the Lord, through the amounts of times he repeats the word "O."   He praises the merciful plan of the great Creator by sharing 6 "O's":
  1. O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! ..
  2. O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape...
  3. O how great the plan of our God! ...
  4. O the greatness and justice of our God! ...
  5. O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! ...
  6. O how great the holiness of our God!  For he knoweth all things... and he cometh into the world to save all men if they will hearken to his voice...
He concludes this praise of our God with the promise that this "atonement [made by the Holy one of Israel will] satisfy the demands of justice upon all those who have not the law given to them," and that "they are restored to that God who gave them breath..."  

Jacob's message from his six 6 "O's" leads up to his promise of a restoration of his brethren at a future time (today), a thesis and central message of this chiastic sermon of blessings and stipulations.  This is also referring to a prophecy that Elijah would come to restore the House of Israel to their God, but he is giving the updated promise ~ restoration from sin will come from the Holy One of Israel.  

This 6 "O's" Hebrew literary poetry and mathematical pattern is unknown to most.  It is usually taught orally from Rabbi to Rabbi in synagogues, and is a part of what women are trained to do in the Foundation Builder Guide.  Seeing this additional and important Hebraic literary pattern helps us identify more specific meanings and messages of truth.  It also verifies to us the Hebrew roots of the record, and brings such joy to truly be able to understand the scriptures and the intention of their authors.  
Jacob immediately gives warning in 10 "Woes" to those who have the law:
  1. Wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, ...  
  2. Wo unto the rich who are rich as to things of the world,.. because they despise the poo, and they persecute the meek,...
  3. Wo unto the def, that will not hear,..
  4. Wo unto the blind that will not see,...
  5. Wo unto the uncircumcised of heart,...
  6. Wo unto the liar,..
  7. W unto the murderer, who deliberately killeth,..
  8. Wo unto them who commit whoredoms,...
  9. Wo unto those that worship idols,...
  10. Wo unto all those who die in their sins...
Just like Moses did in his "High Priest sermon," when he helped the Vassal House of Israelites be established under a Suzerainty Treaty and covenant with God, Jacob the High Priest is warning his brethren, the House of Israel, of the stipulations of their contract.  (See Exodus 20)  These ten "woes" teach Israel of their ability and power to act and to choose their God, not the enemy of their soul.
To help them remember to keep their covenants, he gives them 5 more "O's."
  1. O, my beloved brethren, remember the uawfulness in transgressing against the Holy God,... Remember to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.
  2. O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words.  Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel...  
  3. O, then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One.  Remember that his paths are righteousness... whoso knocketh to him will he open...
  4. O, my beloved brethren, remember my words...[that I am not accountable for your sins]...  
  5. O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast;  come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation...  
Jacob invites the House of Israel to Come

In a loving invitation for his posterity, he says it is expedient that he should awaken them/us to our awful reality, but ends with 5 inviting "Come's."
  1. Come, my brethren, everyone that thirsteth
  2. Come ye to the waters
  3. Come that hath no money, come buy and eat
  4. Come buy wine and milk without money and price
  5. Come unto the Holy one of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, ...let your soul delight in fatness.

What could be the message of these "5's?"  What could be the additional meaning Jacob is sharing with us? 

This last statement brings us back to the first in his sermon, as a well trained Hebrew author understanding the learning of the Jews, and to these "5's" ~ that we might know concerning the covenants of the Lord that he has made with all the House of Israel, and that we might live them.

In the last of the eight "remembers" Jacob says, "Remember the words of your God; pray unto him continually by day and give thanks unto his Holy name by night. Let your hearts rejoice.  And behold, how great the covenants of the Lord..."  These 8 "remembers" bring us, the House of Israel and his descendants of the lineage of Joseph, to the point that we must be born again and truly enter into his Tent and become hearers of His Word. 

In these repetitive ancient poetic patterns Jacob was using to speak to the ancient and modern family of Israel, we can see his educational training in the “Hebrew way of learning,” that he was speaking to a people who could understand the depth of this historical context, and that in a future day, a family member of the House of Israel would recognize these patterns. 

Those of us who are also House of Israel members but who have been trained up in the “manner of the Gentiles” are not always familiar with these Hebraic patterns and the historical context the sacred records we have offer us.  We think we understand the basic meaning while relating to it from our own context, which doesn’t fully reveal the author's intention, and so we sometimes miss the richness and depth.  This symbolic way of understanding is not just available to professional scholars, but can be learned by anyone with a desire and willingness to take the time and effort to learn.  This process is offered to mother mentors in a monthly outline in Foundation Builder Guide


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