The Anti-Christ (continued): Sherem; “I know that there is no Christ, neither has been nor ever will be” (v. 9).
3. Sherem accuses the Church leaders of deceiving and misleading the people, i.e. “preaching that which ye call the gospel, or the doctrine of Christ,” perverting “the right way of God, and keep not the law of Moses” [Mormons are not Christians] (vv. 6–7). Sherem’s words “that which ye call” implies Jacob is introducing his own ideas for doctrine. He is rejecting the principle of ongoing revelation. Sherem’s reliance on the law of Moses shows his rejection of the higher law of Christ, the purpose for which the law of Moses had been given and the Nephites had attained (see 2 Nephi 25:23–30). He is relying on the dead prophets and rejecting the living ones.
4. An anti-Christ denies the omniscience of God; no man can “tell of things to come” (Jacob 7:7). If Sherem believed the scriptures, as he later claimed, he would have believed “I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:9–10); and also believed what he told Abraham: “My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee” (Abraham 2:8).
5. Sherem professes to believe in the scriptures but does “not understand them” (Jacob 7:10–11). Moroni later testifies:
7 And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;
8 Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.
9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing [Mormon 9:7–9]?
6. Sherem seeks for a sign (Jacob 7:13). Jesus said: “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matthew 12:39; 16:4). This declaration tells us something about Sherem. The Prophet Joseph Smith said the saying of Jesus “that he who seeketh a sign is an adulterous person, and that principle is eternal, undeviating, and firm as the pillars of heaven, for whenever you see a man seeking after a sign, you may set it down that he is an adulterous man” ( TPJS, 157). “He that seeketh signs shall see signs, but not unto salvation” (D&C 63:7).
The Prophet (continued): Jacob; I have heard and seen; and it has also been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost” that there is a Christ. He knew if there was “no atonement made all mankind must be lost” (Jacob 7:12).
7. The Lord God pours out “his Spirit into [Jacob’s] soul” (v. 8). A prophet waits for the Spirit to direct him. Nephi “was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [Nephi] should do” (1 Nephi 4:6). Amulek would “say nothing which is contrary to the Spirit of the Lord” (Alma 11:22).
8. Jacob knows that all the scriptures, and all the prophets, testify and speak of Christ (Jacob 7:11). Jesus said: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life [without searching]: and they are they that testify of me” (John 5:39). Jacob had testified earlier that all the holy prophets knew of Christ (see Jacob 4:4).
9. Jacob knows the thoughts and intents of his associates; he knew that Sherem knew of Christ and was led about by the devil (Jacob 7:14). “There is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart” (D&C 6:16); but he reveals those thoughts to his prophets. Amulek “perceived [the people of Ammonihah’s] thoughts” (Alma 10:17). Ammon, being filled with the Spirit of God, therefore he perceived the thoughts of the king” (Alma 18:17).
10. Jacob leaves the manifestation of signs and witnesses up to the will of God, not his own will (Jacob 7:14). “Signs follow those that believe. Yea, signs come by faith, not by the will of men, nor as they please, but by the will of God” (D&C 63:9–10; see also Mark 16:17–18).
Not all of the characteristics mentioned above are necessary to qualify or mark someone as an anti-Christ, or a prophet; but one of them could qualify him (or her) as either one. Every characteristic of an anti-Christ should be avoided lest we are guilty by association, or become led astray by the devil as was Sherem. Likewise, in a general sense, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10; TPJS, 119); therefore, although we are not “the Prophet,” or one of “the prophets” of the Church, we should seek the characteristics of a prophet outlined above as guidelines for our lives.