The Flaming Sword Part 4
Does reproving "with sharpness" mean to get mean, angry, to get into someone's face yelling and hollering? What examples do we have in the scriptures or that type of behavior? None that I am aware of. In fact, according the scriptures, the voice is so quiet and mild that it has to be repeated several times before it can even be understood. The first example of which is one in which Nephi and Lehi were cast into prison by the Lamanites and apostate Nephites:
"And it came to pass that there came a voice as if it were above the cloud of darkness, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants whom I have sent unto you to declare good tidings.Note that this "mild" voice "pierced" them even to the very soul. Another example I like is when Christ visited the Americas in 3rd Nephi:
And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul-
And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; and behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse-
And behold the voice came again, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; and seek no more to destroy my servants. And it came to pass that the earth shook again, and the walls trembled.
And also again the third time the voice came, and did speak unto them marvelous words which cannot be uttered by man; and the walls did tremble again, and the earth shook as if it were about to divide asunder." (1)
"And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.Again, note that the voice was not a harsh voice, nor a loud voice, but a small voice, a mild voice. It wasn't till the third time before they understood it because they had to make a specific effort to try and understand, but note the piercing action accompanied with the burning action - the flaming sword. So what does it mean to reprove with sharpness? Perhaps it means that you get "straight to the point" with no beating around the bush; "get to the heart of the matter" or "cut to the chase" as it were.
And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name-hear ye him." (2)
"And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.In doing more searches on the subject, it seems that the sword metaphor is used with us ordinary mortals along the same lines in terms of gossip and criticism.
And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us." (3)
"The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords." (4)Ever hear of the phrase "he stabbed me in the back"? or "What a back stabber!".
"Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:
Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:
That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not." (5)
1. Helaman 5:29 - 33, Book of Mormon
2. 3 Nephi 11:3 - 7, BofM
3. 1 Nephi 16:2 - 3, BofM
4. Psalms 55:21, King James version
5. Psalms 64:2 - 4, KJV