BOOK OF MORMON - LESSON 7
2 Nephi 3-5
"I Know In Whom I Have Trusted"
A study of this lesson will help us strengthen our testimonies of the Prophet
Joseph Smith and to encourage us to find happiness through trusting in
the Lord and keeping his commandments.
Lehi teaches that his descendants will be blessed through the Prophet Joseph
Smith and the Book of Mormon.
Nephi laments his sinfulness but glories in the goodness of God.
The anger of Laman and Lemuel increases against Nephi, and the Lord commands
the followers of Nephi to separate from the followers of Laman.
2 Nephi 3
2 Nephi 3:4-5: "For behold, thou art the
fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive
into Egypt. And great were the covenants of the Lord which he made unto
After arriving on the American continent, Nephi taught his "brethren" the
things of the Lord and read to them from the plates of brass, particularly
prophecies from Isaiah (see 1 Nephi 19:22).
After Nephi concluded teaching his brethren, Lehi then prophesied and taught
his children. In the third chapter of 2nd Nephi, Lehi goes on to
speak to his son Joseph.
"Wherefore, Joseph truly
saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit
of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house
of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless,
to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be
made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto
the bringing of them out of darkness unto light--yea, out of hidden darkness
and out of captivity unto freedom."
2 Nephi 3:6: "For Joseph truly testified,
saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer
unto the fruit of my loins."
Joseph, son of Jacob, saw the events surrounding Lehi's time.
Joseph was promised by the Lord that a righteous branch, or lineage, of
the house of Israel would be raised up through his loins. This branch
would be broken off from the rest of Israel.
WHO IS THIS BRANCH?
This could be a dual prophecy.
It could easily apply to the Lehi branch of Joseph. All of the conditions
of the prophecy were fulfilled.
It seems to more fully apply to our time, the last days and the membership
of the modern church.
READ 2 NEPHI 3:11-12. The words of Joseph and
Judah to grow together.
WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THIS CHOICE SEER?
He will be of the lineage of Joseph (v7).
He will be highly esteemed by the descendants of Joseph (v7).
He will do a work of "great worth" for the descendants of Joseph (v7).
He will do no other work than that which the Lord commands him (v8).
He will be great "like unto Moses" (v9).
He will bring forth the word of the Lord unto Joseph's descendants (v11).
"...out of weakness he shall be made strong" (v13).
"...his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of
his father" (v15).
He will be like the ancient Joseph, through the power of the Lord he will
bring his people to salvation (v15).
He will write the writing of the fruit of Joseph's loins (v18).
WHO IS THIS CHOICE SEER?
D&C 135:3: "Joseph Smith, the Prophet
and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation
of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the
short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which
he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing
it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which
it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the
revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants,
and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children
of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great
city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and
he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord's
anointed in ancient time, has sealed his mission and his works with his
Elder LeGrand Richards: "The Prophet Joseph Smith
brought us the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of
Great Price, and many other writings. As far as the records show,
he has given us more revealed truth than any prophet who has ever lived
upon the face of the earth." (Ensign, May 1981, p33)
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE LEHI PASSED THESE PROPHECIES ON TO HIS SON JOSEPH?
WHAT IS THE LORD TEACHING JOSEPH?
Two records containing the word of the Lord would be written.
One record to be written by the descendants of Judah.
The other record to be written by the descendants of Joseph.
The "choice seer" would be given power to bring forth the word of the Lord
unto the descendants of Joseph.
The record of Joseph would be joined with the record of Judah to confound
"false doctrines" and lay "down contentions". It would establish
"peace" among the descendants of Joseph and bring "them to the knowledge
of their fathers in the latter days" and also to the knowledge of the Lord's
HOW HAS THIS BEEN FULFILLED?
How do the Book of Mormon and Bible together confound false doctrines?
President Ezra Taft Benson: "We invite all
men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ.
The Bible sits on the pulpit of hundreds of different religious sects.
The Book of Mormon, the record of Joseph, verifies and clarifies the Bible.
It removes stumbling blocks, it restores many plain and precious things.
We testify that when used together, the Bible and the Book of Mormon confound
false doctrines, lay down contentions, and establish peace (see 2 Nephi
3:12)." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p63)
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "Just as was foreseen,
the scriptures of the Restoration, fusing and growing together with the
Bible, have resulted in a 'confounding of false doctrines' (2 Nephi 3:12)
and 'the taking away of. . . stumbling blocks' (1 Nephi 14:1). The Restoration
scriptures, among other blessings, answer the questions that have tormented
ecclesiastical councils and synods in centuries past." (Not
My Will, But Thine, p36)
How do these books establish peace among the descendants of Joseph?
2 Nephi 4
After concluding the prophecies of Joseph, Lehi called the children of
Laman and Lemuel together and blessed them.
Lehi concludes his blessings and prophecies by speaking to the sons of
Ishmael and then to his son Sam.
2 Nephi 4:5-7: "But behold, my sons and
my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing
upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should
go ye will not depart from it.
"Wherefore, if ye are cursed,
behold, I leave my blessing upon you, that the cursing may be taken from
you and be answered upon the heads of your parents.
"Wherefore, because of
my blessing the Lord God will not suffer that ye shall perish; wherefore,
he will be merciful unto you and unto your seed forever."
We see in this blessing a prophetic recognition of the rebellious nature
of the descendants of Laman and Lemuel. Lehi gives them a great blessing:
This lineage will not perish but will continue and the Lord will be merciful
unto their seed. The cursing will be answered upon the head of their
2 Nephi 4:15-35 is often referred to as the Psalm
2 Nephi 4:12: "And it came to pass after
my father, Lehi, had spoken unto all his household, according to the feelings
of his heart and the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, he waxed old.
And it came to pass that he died, and was buried."
2 Nephi 4:15-16: "And
upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which
are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures,
and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the
profit of my children.
"The psalms of ancient Israel were hymns....
These psalms served to express the religious feeling of ancient Israel
at its greatest depth and highest intensity. Nephi would be familiar
with the psalm form as well as with many of the psalms in the Old Testament.
It would be natural for him to 'write the things of [his soul]' and the
expressions of his joy and his sorrow in this highly beautiful, poetic
form." (Book of Mormon Student Manual,
As we review these verses, we come to learn more
of the heat and soul of this great man.
"Behold, my soul delighteth
in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the
things which I have seen and heard."
2 Nephi 4:17-19: "Nevertheless,
notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great
and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea,
my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine
As we "liken" the scriptures unto us, there are some
important questions to ask ourselves as we review Nephi's words:
DO WE DELIGHT IN THE SCRIPTURES? WHAT DOES
IT MEAN TO DELIGHT IN THE SCRIPTURES?
Dictionary definition of "delight": "1.
a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture.
2. something that gives great pleasure. 3. to give delight to. 4. to have
or take great pleasure." (Random House
Webster's College Dictionary 1996, p358)
Do we have this kind of feeling about the scriptures?
What do we find delight in? How can we bring ourselves to have this
feeling that Nephi expresses so powerfully?
DO WE PONDER THE SCRIPTURES IN OUR HEARTS?
We find here one of the keys to finding "delight"
in the scriptures. As we ponder the scriptures, the Holy Spirit can
touch our hearts and open our spiritual eyes to the vast treasure house
of knowledge and wisdom contain therein.
In some ways, pondering is
like a great treasure hunt. In a treasure hunt we might use a map,
but we are actively involved in looking all around for signs of the treasure.
We look for signs of the treasure. We might look under rocks, around
trees, climb over mountains, and wade through streams all in an effort
to find a buried treasure.
As we ponder the scriptures,
we find ourselves on a spiritual treasure hunt. We ask questions
about what a verse meant? We might look elsewhere in the scriptures
for answers? We call upon the Lord for clues. As we give effort
to pondering, great treasurers of knowledge can be found.
Joseph Smith: "The
things of God are of deep import; and...careful and ponderous and solemn
thoughts can only find them." (TPJS, p.
President David O. McKay: "Meditation
is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into
the presence of the Lord." (Conference
Report, April 1946)
Consider Joseph Smith's actions leading up to the
First Vision: "I reflected on it
again and again,
knowing that if any person needed wisdom from
God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more
wisdom than I then had, I would never know;...
"At length I came to the
conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else
I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God."
(Joseph Smith - History 1:12-13)
Consider Joseph F. Smith's experience: "On
the third of October, in the year nineteen hundred and eighteen, I sat
in my room pondering over the scriptures;
"As I pondered over these
things which are written, the eyes of my understanding were opened, and
the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and I saw the hosts of the dead,
both small and great." (D&C 138:1&11)
DO WE WRITE OR TEACH OF THE SCRIPTURES FOR THE PROFIT
AND LEARNING OF OUR CHILDREN?
Again, this is another key to finding "delight" in
the scriptures. As we share the teachings of the scriptures with
our children and others, we are strengthened through the process.
As I prepare for and teach the Gospel Doctrine class, I am the one that
gains the most reward. The process of preparation, pondering, reading,
and studying makes me the greatest benefactor. As a result, I come
to "delight" in the scriptures more and more and desire to live a more
"I am encompassed about,
because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
"And when I desire to rejoice,
my heart groaneth because of my sins;"
In his pondering, Nephi asks himself some important
I love these words from Nephi. In Nephi's story
up to this point, we see a man who is so willing to serve and obey the
Lord. We see a man who is absolutely obedient. And now we see
into the soul of this great, yet humble man. He is offended by every
sin and temptation. Our view of Nephi is enlarged when we consider
these words from the Prophet Joseph Smith: "The
nearer man approaches perfection , the clearer are his views, and the greater
his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every
desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where
he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught to dwell
with Him" (TPJS, p51). Nephi's words
are the words of a righteous man on the road to perfection. The wicked
care not about their sins and are not offended by them.
HOW DID NEPHI FIND HOPE TO OFFSET HIS WRETCHED FEELING?
READ 2 NEPHI 4:19-25.
The Lord was Nephi's support.
2 Nephi 4:26-27: "O
then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension
unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should
my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh
waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
"And why should I yield
to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations,
that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict
my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?"
WHY DO WE SOMETIMES STRUGGLE WITH SORROW AND TEMPTATION
DESPITE OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE GOSPEL?
Like Nephi, we all suffer the temptations of mortality.
There are many things that attempt to draw us away from perfection.
It may be something as simple as a headache, which we use as an excuse
to offend a family member through our neglect or anger. It may be
the lures of wealth, pleasure, or ease. All of this is part of this
WHAT DID NEPHI TEACH US ABOUT OVERCOMING SORROW AND
READ 2 NEPHI 4:28-30.
Rejoice in the Lord.
2 Nephi 4:34: "O
Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will
not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that
putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his
trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."
Recall these great words of Helaman to his sons:
"And now, my sons, remember, remember that
it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that
ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his
mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail
and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you
to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock
upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon
if men build they cannot fall."
2 Nephi 5
After Nephi's psalm, we return to the story of the Lehi family.
WHAT HAPPENED TO LAMAN AND HIS BRETHREN AND FAMILIES WHEN THE TEMPERING
INFLUENCE OF THE RIGHTEOUS WERE GONE?
With father Lehi's passing, his influence over his rebellious sons seems
to have passed also.
2 Nephi 5:1-2: "Behold, it came to pass
that I, Nephi, did cry much unto the Lord my God, because of the anger
of my brethren.
"But behold, their anger did increase against
me, insomuch that they did seek to take away my life."
2 Nephi 5:5: "And
it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart
from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with
Nephi took his family, and the families of Zoram,
Sam, Jacob, Joseph, his sisters, and any others that would go with him
and journeyed into the wilderness many days. The place where they
stopped, they called Nephi.
Nephi says, "And
we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments
of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses. And the
Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly"
(2 Nephi 5:10-11).
Nephi goes on in the next few verse to describe their
efforts in building a new community (see v13-17).
Nephi continues by saying, "And it came to pass that
we lived after the manner of happiness" (v27).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE "AFTER THE MANNER OF HAPPINESS"?
After the people of Nephi had passed through so much misery, had traveled
such a long journey, and now had fed from the influences of their wicked
brethren, and were now prospering and keeping the commandments, thus truly
must have been a time of great happiness.
HOW CAN WE LIVE AFTER THE MANNER OF HAPPINESS?
See 2 Nephi 5:20-24.
They had hardened their hearts against the Lord.
They became a loathsome people.
They became idle.
They were full of mischief and subtlety.
As a consequence they were cut off from the Lord and became a cursed people.
ARE THE RIGHTEOUS MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN TODAY'S WORLD?
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