As Lehi and Sariah camped in the wilderness, waiting for their sons to return from a dangerous mission, Lehi spoke of a future blessing as though it had already happened:
I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yea, and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness.1 Nephi 5:5
He spoke of his sons’ deliverance in the future tense, but he spoke of the land of promise as something that he had already received.
Lehi’s grandson, Enos, obtained a remission of his sins and an elimination of his feelings of guilt because of his faith in an event which would happen hundreds of years in the future. “How is it done?” he asked the Lord. “Because of thy faith in Christ,” was the answer, “whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole” (Enos 1:8).
The Savior’s Atonement was still many years in the future, but Enos had already been healed!
Many others in the Book of Mormon, including King Benjamin’s people, Alma, and King Lamoni obtained a remission of their sins many years before the coming of Christ. (See Mosiah 4:1-3, Mosiah 27:29-30, Alma 19:12-13.)
When Isaiah spoke about the Savior’s mortal life and Atonement, he used the past tense to describe a future event:
He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.Isaiah 53:5-6, Mosiah 14:5-6
Many years earlier, Enoch used the present tense to proclaim not only the Savior’s Atonement but his own salvation and the salvation of his people:
The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world; and through faith I am in the bosom of the Father, and behold, Zion is with me.Moses 7:47
Alma said that people who were called “before the foundation of the world, according to the foreknowledge of God” exercised “exceedingly great faith” (Alma 13:3). Elder Ahmad S. Corbitt explains: “Those with ‘exceedingly great faith’ see God’s promises as already fulfilled” (“You Can Gather Israel,” General Conference, October 2021, footnote 15). He added, “Faith to see Christ’s promise of salvation as already fulfilled necessarily requires knowing Christ cannot lie” (footnote 16).
Moroni identified “exceedingly great faith” as one of the gifts we can receive through the Spirit of the Lord. (See Moroni 10:11.)
Today, I will work to strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ. I will remember that faith can become strong enough that we talk about promised blessings as though we had already received them, because we know that God’s promises are certain to happen.