A Nail in a Sure Place Word Study

Dec 19
Nail in a Sure Place

What do you do when you’re reading along in the scriptures and see a word or phrase that stands out to you? Do you dismiss it because you’re trying to get through your reading schedule in your allotted time? That would be unfortunate, because often when a word or phrase stands out to you, it’s an invitation from the Lord to learn more. It’s inspired curiosity by the Spirit prompting you to stop and ponder.

This week I stumbled upon an article that listed some scriptures that referenced the temple endowment. I thought I would create a collection note to study these verses, plus what was already available. So the first thing I did was go to study helps and type “endowment” and create a collection note from the Topical Guide (TG), and Index to the Triple Combination (TC) entries. Then I bulk moved the TC verses to the TG collection and saved it. If you don’t know how to do this bulk move, watch the 5th training video inside Scripture Notes by clicking the help question mark on the left.

Then I started opening up the chapters where verses were referenced in the article I was reading and started moving them into the collection. I have a list below if you want them.

Once I was done and had saved the note, I started reading the verses to begin a study of them.

Nail in a Sure Place

The first set of verses were in Isaiah 22:20-25. I got to verse 23 and noticed the phrase “fasten him as a nail in a sure place.”

I glanced over at my notes on this verse and saw I had previously written:

“Why do we need to have a nail in a sure place upon a cross? So we cannot fall. Only by going to the cross and subjecting ourselves fully to God can we never fall.”

Tav – Cannot Fall

In Hebrew, the last letter of the aleph-beit (alphabet) is Tav, which had the ancient symbol of a cross (and a value of 400). It is the last step for an individual before passing into the next letter/number (500) which is unknown and beyond this world. If there is anything we must make sure in this world, it’s that we cannot fall. We must endure our crosses with faith and partake of our own bitter cups.

When I saw that note, it triggered my memory that there was at least one verse that contains the phrase “cannot fall”. So I did a search using quote marks for:

“cannot fall”

There were 2 results. The first was the oft cited verse in Helaman 5:12 reminding us that we must remember:

“it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation.”

It ends by stating this rock

is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

The other verse was in D&C 97:19 speaking of Zion as:

“the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there.

Whoa, that was an interesting revelation on atonement typology. Zion cannot be moved out of her place because the hand of the Lord with a nail in a sure place is there.

Sure – Verified

Back to Isaiah 22:23. I proceeded to open up Blue Letter Bible from the link in Scripture Notes and looked at some of the words in Hebrew.

The word sure is:

אָמַן ʼâman, aw-man’; a primitive root; (Isaiah 30:21; interchangeable with H541, to go to the right hand) properly, to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain;:—hence, assurance, believe, bring up, establish, fail, be faithful (of long continuance, stedfast, sure, surely, trusty, verified), nurse, (-ing father), (put), trust, turn to the right.

I’m no Hebrew scholar, but this immediately drew my mind to the scriptures that use the phrase “Son Ahman” which sounds like that pronunciation of “aw-man.” A quick search for the word “Ahman” in Scripture Notes found 7 verses, 2 using “Son Ahman” and 5 referencing Adam-ondi-Ahman.

These are “sure” things. Son Ahman is the name of Jesus Christ. We had and have complete confidence in Son Ahman who was the “lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).

Adam-ondi-Ahman was said by Orson Pratt to be the valley of God where Adam dwelt.

I created a quick collection note from these 7 verses, called it “Ahman sounds like the word for Sure in Hebrew,” and put this link in the master note (https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h539/kjv/wlc/0-1/) along with that Strong’s definition. Something I’ll need to research more on later.

I also noticed that “aman” seems very similar to amen. I did a search in the Old Testament for “amen” and got 22 results. I just wanted to verify what “amen” is in Hebrew so I clicked to the Blue Letter Bible site from one of the verses to get to Strong’s concordance and saw it consists of the exact same letters as “sure” above (AMN). It’s root is the word sure above and only the pronunciation is slightly different. When we say “amen” at the close of a prayer, it literally means sure, truly, verily. These things are all tied together.

I then did a search in Scripture Notes for:


The word “sure” only appears 56 times in the scriptures. A number of them directly tie into this concept. For example:

2 Peter 1:10. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

D&C 131:5. (May 17th, 1843.) The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.

Ether 12:4. Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

The point of the temple endowment is for us to fully take upon us the name of Christ. We can only do that by symbolically accepting the symbols of his life and death, which anchor us like a nail in a sure place, and confirm to us, the promises of our hope in Christ to receive eternal life.

More Sure – Permanent

Once we receive the symbols, it’s the preparation to receiving the actual more sure word of prophecy. That comes by continuing faithful and diligently seeking to receive the “more sure word” from God that we have obtained the promise. Doing some digging in the LDS Citation Index (clicking to from various verses in this collection) you can find quotes like these.

Joseph Smith: “Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure. … They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation” –Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 298).

Bruce R. McConkie: “To have one’s calling and election made sure is to be sealed up unto eternal life; it is to have the unconditional guarantee of exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world; it is to receive the assurance of godhood; it is, in effect, to have the day of judgment advanced, so that an inheritance of all the glory and honor of the Father’s kingdom is assured prior to the day when the faithful actually enter into the divine presence to sit with Christ in his throne, even as he is ‘set down’ with his ‘Father in his throne’ (Revelation 3:21).” –Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Bookcraft, 1973, 3:330–31.

Joseph Smith: “When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John…Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions.” – Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 150-151

There is nothing sure about life on earth. We are strangers and pilgrims here. Everything is in flux and tribulation. The world is falling into the hands of the evil one. Agency is being destroyed to bring about global tyranny as prophesied.

The only thing that can be sure to any mortal is when God makes something sure. When he fastens us in a sure place by declaring we have passed the test and gives the word that our place in the cosmos is secure, we have an anchor to our soul. There is no greater gift from God than eternal life, and obtaining this promise should be our greatest pursuit. What a gift. What an endowment.

These are the scriptures found on the list mentioned above if you want to recreate the collection note and continue your study. Just start with the TG Endowment entry, bulk move the TC Endowment entry into it, add these verses, and then you might do other searches for synonym words like, sure, seal/sealed, bind/bound, anchor/anchored (using wildcards: seal*, bind*, anchor*).

  • Luke 24:49
  • D&C 38:31-32, 38
  • D&C 39:15-23
  • D&C 43:16
  • D&C 44:1-3
  • D&C 84:19-23
  • D&C 88:70, 74-75
  • D&C 95:8-9
  • D&C 105:9-12, 17-19, 33-37
  • D&C 108:3-5
  • D&C 109:1, 5, 10-11, 15, 22, 35, 37-38, 44
  • D&C 110:7-9


(Featured image by pamela4578 at 123rf.com)


About the Author

Oak Norton - Just trying to share a love of the scriptures with others.

  • Daniel Hopkins says:

    Thank you Oak – an interesting and thought-provoking exploration! I’d love to see the original article you mentioned too – would you mind sharing that?

    Thank you!

    • Oak Norton says:

      Hi Daniel, thanks for reading the post. I can’t actually remember where I found that article now but if it had been worth sharing beyond the scriptures I would have. It may have just been a list of verses about the endowment since that’s all I really shared here. Sorry.

  • Lora Smith says:

    Thank you, Oak, for your thoroughness and willingness to share. This gives further understanding to the tokens in the temple. These words will carry deeper meaning as i read the scriptures.

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