OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 1 MOSES 1
- Introductory Comments.
- Lesson Highlights.
- The importance of studying the Old Testament.
- We are children of God.
- We can resist Satan's temptations.
- God's work and glory is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal
- The Old Testament.
- Some Personal Thoughts.
- WHEN I MENTION STUDYING THE OLD TESTAMENT, WHAT THOUGHTS FIRST COME
TO YOUR MIND?
- An ancient, dusty land.
- Tedious study.
- Strange and peculiar laws.
- HOW MANY ARE HONESTLY LOOKING FORWARD TO STUDYING THE OLD TESTAMENT
FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
- HOW MANY HAVE READ THE OLD TESTAMENT AT LEAST ONCE (cover to cover)?
- How I have treated the Old Testament:
- Over the years it has been based, on the most part, on a Missionary
Study Guide published by the Council of the Twelve in May 1971. It states:
"Ordinarily the greatest value will accrue if the Standard Works
are studied in this order: Book of Mormon, New Testament, Pearl of Great
Price, Doctrine & Covenants, the book of Genesis and those portions
of the Old Testament which relate to subjects being studied."
- Shortly after my return from my mission I committed to myself to read
the Old Testament from cover to cover - which I did. It wasn't easy, but
I struggled through it, Genesis to Malachi.
- I have studied aspects of the Old Testament since, but have yet to
read it cover to cover a second time.
- In contrast: I just completed my 25th reading of the Book of Mormon.
I have read the other Standard Works several times, and have read numerous
Church books, particularly related to Church History.
- WHY IS IT THAT MANY OF US ARE RELUCTANT TO READ AND STUDY THIS WORK
- I think it is mostly an attitude problem. This is a book that requires
more effort to understand than the other scriptures.
- WHAT IS THE OLD TESTAMENT?
- An account of God's dealings with his covenant people from the time
of the Creation to a few hundred years before the Savior's birth.
- It provides powerful examples of faith and obedience.
- It shows the consequences of forgetting, disobeying, or opposing God.
- Its prophecies bear witness of the Messiah's birth, redeeming sacrifice,
second coming, and millennial reign.
- Our Study of The Old Testament.
- President Gordon B. Hinckley: "I hope that for you [studying
the scriptures] will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; rather,
it will become a love affair with the word of God. I promise you that as
you read, your minds will be enlightened and your spirits will be lifted."
(Ensign, May 1995, p99)
- A study of the Old Testament should strengthen our testimony of the
Savior and our commitment to live his gospel.
- If we are guided by the Spirit in our study, we should be able to testify
with Job, "I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand
at the latter day upon the earth." (Job 19:25)
- This course also includes the books of Moses and Abraham from the Pearl
of Great Price.
- A suggestion.
- The lesson manual suggests that we be judicious in our use of commentaries
and other nonscriptural resources. I agree with this recommendation, although
I would suggest use of a good Bible handbook, commentary, and history of
Bible times to help us in understanding the culture and background of these
- The Old Testament Student Manual (Religion 301), available through
Church distribution, is an excellent resource. It includes maps, charts,
and a lot of other good information.
- The messages of the Old Testament are best understood through the Spirit.
- Moses 1.
- WHAT IS THE SOURCE FOR THE BOOK OF MOSES?
- Chapter one is a vision that Moses received approximately 3,000 years
ago; and this vision was revealed to Joseph Smith, the Prophet, in June,
- Chapters two to eight are the writings of Moses which were revealed
to Joseph Smith in December, 1830. These writings are quite similar to
chapters one to six of Genesis.
- God Teaches That Moses Is A Son Of God.
- READ MOSES 1:1-3. God speaks to Moses.
- WHO IS MOSES TALKING WITH?
- When one reads these verses, it would seem that it is God the Father
with whom Moses is communicating.
- Consider verse 6: "And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son;
and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only
Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth;
but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for
I know them all."
- Bruce R. McConkie: "The God here involved was the Lord Jehovah,
though his words were those of the Father; he was, of course, speaking
by divine investiture of authority." (Promised Messiah, p601)
- In v4-5 the Lord says that he would show Moses the "workmanship"
of his hands. They are without end. In fact, no man can behold all the
works of God without beholding the full glory of God. That is not possible
and remain a mortal here upon the earth.
- We cannot fully comprehend all that God has done without fully knowing
him and that is not possible here in mortality. Moses will be shown only
a glimpse of the "workmanship" of God.
- READ MOSES 1:6. Moses created in the likeness of God.
- WHAT DID MOSES LEARN ABOUT HIMSELF IN HIS ENCOUNTER WITH THE LORD?
- He is a son of God.
- DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT MOSES UNDERSTOOD THAT HE WAS A SPIRITUAL SON AND
NOT A SON IN THE FLESH?
- The Lord says in v6 that Moses was created in the similitude of his
- Moses knew of his earthly father and mother, Amram and Jochebed. He
knew he was their son in the flesh. He could only interpret his being a
son of God as spiritual.
- He was created in the "similitude" or likeness of God.
- It is not specified in these verses, but as the brother of Jared learned,
that likeness applies to both the physical and spiritual bodies.
- WHAT SIGNIFICANCE DOES THAT HOLD FOR US?
- Like Moses, our spirit came from the great Creator. As part of the
same mortal family, we are also sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty.
We, too, are created in his image.
- Dallin H. Oaks: "Consider the power of the idea taught in our
beloved song 'I Am a Child of God.' . . . Here is the answer to one of
life's great questions, 'Who am I?' I am a child of god with a spirit lineage
to heavenly parents. That parentage defines our eternal potential. That
powerful idea is a potent antidepressant. It can strengthen each of us
to make righteous choices and to seek the best that is within us. Establish
in the mind of a . . . person the powerful idea that he or she is a child
of God, and you have given self-respect and motivation to move against
the problems of life." (Ensign, Nov. 1995, p25)
- In v7-8 Moses is shown the world "and the ends thereof" and
all those who belong to this world. When he was given this glimpse of the
"workmanship" of God, Moses "greatly marveled and wondered.
- READ MOSES 1:11-12. Moses learns that man is nothing.
- In v1-7 Moses has communed with God and learned of his importance and
- After the presence of God withdrew from him, Moses said, "Now
for this cause I know that man is nothing."
- HOW CAN BOTH CONCEPTS BE TRUE?
- We have within us the seeds of eternal potential, but we can achieve
nothing without dependence on God.
- Harold B. Lee: "It is a wonderful thing for us in our younger
years to remember what old age brings. Chauncey Depew, a United States
Congressman, was asked on his ninetieth birthday about his philosophy of
life. He replied that when he was a young man his greatest ambition had
been to display his intelligence, but the older he grew the greater was
his anxiety to conceal his ignorance. It was indeed the beginning of learning
when Moses said, after the great and soul-stirring revelation of the personality
of God, 'Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I
never had supposed.' (Moses 1:10.) That was in the beginning of his wisdom."
(Stand Ye In Holy Places, p.198-199)
- Satan Confronts Moses.
- READ MOSES 1:12-15. Satan tempts Moses.
- WHAT DID SATAN COMMAND MOSES TO DO?
- To worship him (v12).
- WHY DID SATAN REFER TO MOSES AS "SON OF MAN"?
- He was attempting to influence the thinking of Moses. The Lord had
referred to him as "son of God", a reference to his divine potential.
Satan wanted Moses to think that he was no greater than any other creature,
a man begotten of the world.
- DOES SATAN TAKE A SIMILAR APPROACH WITH US? HOW?
- He attempts to make the teachings of men more appealing than the light
of truth. When we accept those teachings, we are denying our divine potential,
or the fact that we are the "sons and daughters of men".
- HOW DOES ONE WORSHIP SATAN?
- Bruce R. McConkie: "One of Satan's greatest aims, as he works
his nefarious schemes among men, is to get them 'to worship him.' (Moses
1:12; 6:49.) His success in this venture is phenomenal. As the god of this
world, he has the support and, though they may not consciously realize
it, the adoration and worship of all those who live after the manner of
the world. God our Father is worshipped in and through compliance with
his commandments and in no other way. The same is true of Satan."
(Mormon Doctrine, p.193)
- HOW DID MOSES RESPOND WHEN SATAN CALL HIM "SON OF MAN"?
- Moses spoke up for truth when he said, "Who art thou? For behold,
I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten."
- HOW CAN A STRONG TESTIMONY THAT WE ARE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD HELP
US RESIST TEMPTATION?
- In v16 through 21, four times Moses told Satan to depart.
- WHAT DOES THIS TEACH US ABOUT RESISTING SATAN'S EFFORTS?
- Temptation may not flee from us when resisting it just once. It may
come back to haunt us again. We must be prepared, be vigilant, and keep
our lives in order so that we will not be worn down by temptation.
- HOW DID MOSES GET SATAN TO LEAVE?
- V21: "called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten,
depart hence, Satan."
- HOW CAN PRAYER STRENGTHEN US TO RESIST TEMPTATION?
- Brigham Young: "It matters not whether you or I feel like praying,
when the time comes to pray, pray. If we do not feel like it, we should
pray till we do." (DBY, p44)
- Brigham Young: "If the Devil says you cannot pray when you
are angry, tell him it is none of his business, and pray until that species
of insanity is dispelled and serenity is restored to the mind."
- God Appears Again And Teaches Of His Work & Glory.
- After Satan's departure, Moses once again beheld the "glory"
- Moses was once again given a vision of the earth, one of the works
- V27 says that "there was not a particle of it which he did
- V28 says that he beheld all the "inhabitants" of the
earth and that they were "numberless as the sand upon the sea shore."
- As Moses beheld these works of God he asked (v30), "Tell me,
I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?"
- HOW DID THE LORD ANSWER? (see v31-32)
- WHY: "For mine own purpose have I made these things."
- HOW: "...by the word of my power, have I created them, which is
mine Only Begotten Son".
- In v33 the Lord expands on His answer, "And worlds without
number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and
by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten."
- WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "Not only was this earth planned as
an architect plans his building but its entire destiny and the destiny
of its inhabitants was considered and known to the great Architect, before
its foundation stones were laid. Our Eternal Father was not experimenting
when this world came into existence. It did not come by chance. It is not
the first of his creations. Millions upon millions of worlds such as this
had rolled into existence before our earth was born. Every step taken was
according to the divine plan, and that plan was an eternal one, which had
been followed in the construction of other worlds without number unto man.
In other worlds the plan of salvation had been given. Here we are enacting
familiar scenes; scenes which are new to all mortal men, but which are
well known to the Father and also to the Son." (The Way to Perfection,
- After touching on the vast expanse of His creations, the Lord states
that he would only give Moses and account of the earth (v35). He continues
in v38 stating that "there is no end" to his works.
- In v39 he more fully answers Moses "why" question when he
states: "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to
pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
- David O. McKay: "What is the end and purpose of religion, swaying
the lives of men the centuries through? The Latter-day Saints answer in
the words of the Lord revealed through the Prophet Joseph that the end
and purpose of true religion, which is the work of God, is ". . .
to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Gospel
- WHAT IS IMMORTALITY? WHO WILL RECEIVE IT? WHAT IS ETERNAL LIFE? WHO
WILL RECEIVE IT?
- James E. Faust: "There is a distinction between immortality,
or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the
presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to
all..., just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is 'the
greatest of all the gifts of God' (D&C 14:7). We obtain this great
gift, according to the Lord, 'if you keep my commandments and endure to
the end.' If we so endure, the promise is, 'you shall have eternal life'
(D&C 14:7)" (Ensign, May 1995, p71)
- Neal A. Maxwell: "Fortunately, God is preoccupied with His
children. We (and what we may become) are His work and glory. (Moses 1:39.)
All that He does is for our benefit. (2 Ne. 26:24.) As George MacDonald
said of God, 'He lays no plans irrespective of His children.' 'Worlds and
suns and planets,' wrote MacDonald, are but 'a portion of His workshops
and tools for the bringing out of righteous men and women to fill His house
of love'." (Meek and Lowly, p.12)
- WHAT IS OUR ROLE IN THIS GREAT WORK?
- Gordon B. Hinckley: "We are here to assist our Father in His
work and His glory, 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life
of man' (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility
as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or
of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives
of others. To each of us in our respective responsibilities the Lord has
said:..."In doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto
thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of him who is your Lord'
(D&C 81:4)." (Ensign, May 1995, p71)
- Harold B. Lee: "Again and again has been repeated the statement
that the home is the basis of a righteous life. With new and badly needed
emphasis on the 'how,' we must not lose sight of the 'why' we are so engaged.
The priesthood programs operate in support of the home; the auxiliary programs
render valuable assistance. Wise regional leadership can help us to do
our share in attaining God's overarching purpose, 'to bring to pass the
immortality and eternal life of man.' (Moses 1:39.) Both the revelations
of God and the learning of men tell us how crucial the home is in shaping
the individual's total life experience. Running through all this is the
urgency of impressing the importance of better teaching and greater parental
responsibility in the home. Much of what we do organizationally, then,
is scaffolding, as we seek to build the individual, and we must not mistake
the scaffolding for the soul." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p.309)
Moses 1 is a vital revelation in helping us to understand who we really
are and what is our eternal destiny. This knowledge should motivate us
to strive to God's will and resist temptation.
- Next Week.
Lesson 2: Abraham 3; Moses 4:1-4.