He That Will Not Believe My Words Will Not Believe Me – Ether 4:12

12 And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.
(Ether 4:12)

As the Savior explains to Moroni in the passage above, everything that is good comes from Him, including light, life, and truth. Everything that persuades us to do good is also from Him. Jesus Christ is actively involved in leading us to good things. So, good things come from God, good things lead us to God, and God leads us to good things. (See also Moroni 7:12, 16, James 1:17.)

Furthermore, as we grow closer to Jesus Christ, we grow closer to His Father. They are both perfectly good, and therefore, they are one—completely united. “He that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father,” he says in this passage. In other words, I wouldn’t do anything that He would disapprove of in the slightest. We are both perfect in character. Therefore, if you know one of us, you know both of us, and the way you treat one of us is a good indication of the way you would treat the other.

When Philip, one of the apostles, requested that Jesus show them the Father, He responded, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:9).

Those ancient apostles knew the Savior personally, and were therefore able to connect their love for Him with their love for their Father in Heaven. For the rest of us, the Savior adds another dimension: The way you treat His words is a good indication of how you will treat Him: “He that will not believe my words will not believe me.”

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, a rich man in hell pleads with Abraham to send the beggar Lazarus back to earth to persuade his brothers to be good, so that they can avoid his fate. Abraham responds, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” In other words, they already have plenty of invitations to goodness. One more invitation won’t change anything. The rich man objects: his brothers have not heeded the invitation from the prophets to repent, but if Lazarus returned, they would listen. Abraham replies, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:19-31).

In 1832, the Lord taught Joseph Smith this same principle in Kirtland, Ohio:

He that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.
(D&C 84:36-38)

If you like and accept one good thing, you will like and accept another. They are equivalent. The way you treat the words of the Savior, as delivered by his messengers, is the way you will treat Him and His Father.

Today, as I study and ponder the words of the prophets, I will remember that my attitude toward those words is indicative of my attitude toward the Savior. In fact, my attitude toward every good thing is indicative of my attitude toward Him, because every good thing comes from Him.

This entry was posted in Ether, Jesus Christ, Judging and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to He That Will Not Believe My Words Will Not Believe Me – Ether 4:12

  1. Pingback: Lessons from Sermons to Modern Readers | Book of Mormon Study Notes

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