Studying chapter six of Jesus the Christ. When I begin each morning, I look at the footnotes and read all the scriptures first. Somedays, I wonder how all these scriptures fit together, but Talmage was inspired by God and angels writing this book. Many seeming mysteries become clear after he connects the dots. Unlike so many, I don't believe the prophets spoke in riddles. During my first reading of this material, I sometimes wondered what most of the first few chapters had to do with Jesus as the Christ. It all just sets the stage.
Exodus 12:35, 40; 13:19; 15:1
Numbers 20:1, 19, 24
Isaiah 11:13; 17:3
Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10
On the surface, this appears to be a simple political history. However, one very important event testifies of the Book of Mormon. During the period of unrest between the children of Israel, two major groups appeared. One allied with descendants of Judah and the other with descendants of Ephraim (and Manasseh), the sons of Joseph. Descendants of Joseph immigrated to the Americas, keeping religious and historical records. In those days, many records were kept on scrolls or sticks, while some cultures kept records on tablets of clay or metal. The records of Joseph, kept on gold plates, were abridged to become the Book of Mormon.
Before archeological digs uncovered metal records in cultures around the world, many thought this idea fantastic, unbelievable. The idea of gold plates can't be disputed as fantasy, because other such plates of gold and other metals have been found in the Americas. All this aside, I believe the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon because I have read it and prayed to know for myself. The Holy Ghost confirmed my beliefs.
Back when I was homeschooling my children, I remember studying ancient world history for the first time in my life. As I studied, we were amazed to discover the Bible is part history book. The same things I read in our various history texts were the same events Moses and other Old Testament prophets recorded. However, the history books gave a fuller picture of the events. I'll never forget the thrill of learning that God can use anyone to further his purposes. For instance Cyrus the Great of Persia actually let the Israelites return to Judea and to build their temple. The Israelites never regained national greatness but did finish the temple. Because it is rarely recorded that slaves are freed, it is easy to see how God worked to give Cyrus a greater vision.
The idea of God's hand directing events gives me some hope for our day. If it is His will at the time and will further the building of the kingdom on earth, he can soften the hearts of the leaders of nations. God is omnipotent. That is why I keep praying that the leaders of nations will soften their hearts toward families, children, their fellow countrymen, other nations, human rights/dignity, and freedom of religion. It has happened before.