"And the Lord God hath sent his holy prophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ should come, the same might receive remission of their sins, and rejoice with exceedingly great joy, even as though he had already come among them."
The Lord's holy prophets declare "these things".... repentance, and faith in Jesus Christ. They testify of the Lord's coming, his life, death, and resurrection. They point to Him, and not men because they want others to have the same joy and assurance they have. Which of course does not come by man, it's comes from God which is why they point there. They give examples of how this faith and hope is not time dependent, it's independent of time. It states that exceedingly great joy, and a remission of sins was available before Christ came. It was as though he had already come. There was a time delay in man's measurement of time, but for them the truth is timeless. They gave thanks as if the future had already happened. The time interval seemed to vanish. See also (Jacob 4:4) (Ether 12:19).
So what does this mean for us? Can we, through our faith, experience the reality of things to come, as if they already happened? Is this what hope is? If God's word will assuredly come to pass then how important and joy filled would it be to obtain the word of God to you personally? What once was a mystery can take on incredible clarity and light when enlightened through the Spirit of God. If God cannot lie, and he cannot, then would His word be just as good as if it had already come to pass?
There is a conditional phrase in this verse that reads: "might receive". It's available, but not if we don't want it, or believe its only available to people with special organizational callings. But it's possible to get our minds and heart into the right state to build faith. The Spirit can lead us there. The Holy Ghost is offered to us as a guide and companion.
"And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad." -Ether 12:19
Here's another scripture a lot like the first one. More folks for whom time gave way to timeless revelation. Seems to me revelation is timeless. Now isn't that comforting. They "truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith". They obtained hope. It teaches that they, and us, see with the eye of faith first, then with the eyes themselves. So where's my faith eye? How do I open that eye?
This reminds me of scriptures where some visually capable people are called blind. And why scriptures also say to "dispute not because ye see not". It's not the pupil, and iris and optic nerve.... it's something else.
I don't know that "seeing with an eye of faith" is something that comes like an elephant barging into our minds. I think it's more of a small, personal invitation to calm the mind, and get it into alignment. I don't know that an eye of faith is just something you find under the couch cushion while looking for the remote. It would make sense that it develops with effort, and the TV most times is not helping. In Lectures on Faith 7:3 we learn that "when a man works by faith he works by mental exertion instead of physical force."
Imagine what the minds of those glad folks in Ether 12:19 were accustomed to dwelling upon. The altitude of the thoughts would be a wee bit loftier than the weekly discussions that occur during priesthood opening exercises on Sundays. I mean the jokes are funny the first 10 times you hear them.
Orson Pratt on this subject writes, “If a person trains his mind to walk in the spirit, and brings his whole mind to bear upon its operations, and upon the principles of faith which are calculated to put him in possession of the power of God, how much greater will be his faculties for obtaining knowledge” (Journal of Discourses 7:155–56).
"A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God." Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 137
"Thy mind, oh man!"
On that note here's a great clip from Star Wars about the weak minded. clip