The Second Book of Nephi

plates diagram

Second Nephi begins many years after Lehi’s family left Jerusalem and after their arrival in the land of promise. In the first four chapters Nephi recorded the final words of counsel his father gave before he died. As you read 2 Nephi, notice what happened to the family after Lehi died.

2 Nephi 1
“Awake, My Sons”

Lehi’s counsel in 2 Nephi 1 was especially directed to Laman and Lemuel. Before you read it, think of what you might want to say to Laman and Lemuel if you were their parent. Note what Lehi said and consider what effect you think it might have had on his sons.

Lehi and family

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 1

Rehearsed unto (v. 1)—Reminded, recited

Notwithstanding our afflictions (v. 5)—Even though we have had challenges and trials

Covenanted (v. 5)—Made a sacred promise

Inheritance (vv. 5, 8–9)—Possession or family property

Consecrated (vv. 7, 32)—Especially set aside or dedicated for sacred purposes

Molest (v. 9)—Trouble, harm

Dwindle (v. 10)—Fall gradually away

Visitations (v. 12)—The sending of punishments; events that demonstrate God’s judgment

Redeemed (v. 15)—Saved; a more literal meaning is “purchased from bondage”

Statutes (v. 16)—Laws, commandments, rules

Anxiety (v. 16)—Worry

Incur (v. 22)—Bring upon you

Obscurity (v. 23)—A state of being unknown

Sharpness (v. 26)—A rebuke

Restrain (v. 26)—Hold back

Utterance (v. 27)—Speech

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study 2 Nephi 1.

Activity A iconFinish These Sentences

In 2 Nephi 1:5–12 are Lehi’s words to his sons about the land of their inheritance, which includes North and South America. Complete the following statements that summarize these teachings of Lehi. Try to phrase them in your own words, but be sure your sentence fully covers what Lehi taught:

  1. In addition to Lehi’s descendants, the land is an inheritance to . . . (See vv. 5–7.)

  2. If those who live in this promised land will serve God and keep His commandments, then . . . (See vv. 7, 9–12.)

  3. The Lord kept other nations from knowing about the land at that time because . . . (See v. 8.)

Activity B icon“Be Men”

young man and peers

Elder Carlos E. Asay, who was a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, related an experience he had as an 18-year-old priest in the Aaronic Priesthood when he refused to join a group of his peers in their inappropriate activities. He wrote: “As I walked away . . . , my companions taunted me by shouting, ‘When are you going to grow up?’ ‘When will you stop being a sissy and a religious fanatic?’ ‘When are you going to be a man?’” (In the Lord’s Service [1990], 46; see also Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 58; or Ensign, May 1992, 40). Lehi asked his sons to “be men” (2 Nephi 1:21), but he meant something quite different from what the young men in the story meant. For this activity complete number 1, and then do either 2 or 3.

  1. Based on what Lehi taught in 2 Nephi 1:13–24, list at least five characteristics that Lehi associated with being a man of God. With each characteristic, write the verse in which it is found.

  2. Write a paragraph about the differences between the characteristics you listed and how the boys in Elder Asay’s story and many other worldly people would define what it means to be a man.

  3. Review verses 13 and 15 and write a paragraph comparing the state of righteous men, like Lehi, with the state of worldly men, like Laman and Lemuel.

Jesus Christ taught: “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27).

2 Nephi 2
Free to Choose Because of the Atonement

Jacob was the first of two children born to Lehi and Sariah in the wilderness (see 1 Nephi 18:7). Consequently, he experienced many trials while growing up—both from the difficulty of traveling and from the “rudeness of his brethren” (2 Nephi 2:1). Lehi’s counsel in 2 Nephi 2 was especially for Jacob, and helps explain how it is possible to experience peace and joy in a world of misery and opposition. This is one of the chapters in the Book of Mormon that tells us much about Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 2

Tribulation (v. 1)—Suffering

Consecrate (v. 2)—Set apart for a sacred purpose

Redeemer (v. 3)—One who pays the price to save another from spiritual bondage (Jesus Christ)

Justified (v. 5)—Shown to be free from sin or guilt, forgiven

Contrite (v. 7)—Sorrowful for sin, humble

Merits (v. 8)—Gracious and good works (in this case, the Savior’s Atonement—which includes His suffering, death, and Resurrection)

Grace of the Holy Messiah (v. 8)—Power of Jesus Christ (see Bible Dictionary, “grace,” p. 697)

Intercession (vv. 9–10)—Acting as a mediator to help two parties resolve a problem or difference (in this case it is the Savior’s help for all people who have become separated from Heavenly Father through sin)

Inflicting (v. 10)—Applying, imposing

Affixed (v. 10)—Attached

Compound (v. 11)—A mixture of two or more things put together to form one thing

Naught (v. 12)—No purpose, nothing

Enticed (v. 16)—Tempted, persuaded

Prolonged (v. 21)—Lengthened

State of probation (v. 21; see also v. 30)—Time of testing or proving

Transgression, transgressed (vv. 21–22)—To break or violate a law

Save (v. 26)—Except

Expedient (v. 27)—Necessary, essential

Mediator (vv. 27–28)—One who works to bring into harmony two parties who are not in agreement (in this case, Jesus Christ)

Object (v. 30)—Purpose

2 Nephi 2:3–10—“The Way Is Prepared . . . and Salvation Is Free”

The Atonement of Jesus Christ frees all of mankind from the effects of the Fall and provides a conditional escape from the effects of personal sin (see the accompanying diagram). As Lehi told Jacob, “salvation is free” (2 Nephi 2:4). We are not saved because of any act of ours but because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. There are requirements we must fulfill, however, to receive all of the benefits of the Savior’s Atonement. Lehi said that salvation is granted only to those “who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered” (v. 7). If we would claim the conditional benefits of Christ’s Atonement, we must exercise faith in Him sufficient to repent of all our sins. There is no other way to receive the full benefits of this redemptive act. (See Book of Mormon Student Manual [Religion 121–22, 1996], 23.)

The Results of Adam’s Fall from Which We Need to Be Saved

  • Physical death: We are all born with mortal bodies that will eventually die.

  • Spiritual death: We are all born into a fallen world and are separated from our Heavenly Father.

  • We live on a telestial, fallen earth.

The Unconditional Blessings of the Atonement

Christ in Gethsemane

The Results of Our Own Fall from Which We Need to Be Saved

  • As we become accountable for our choices, our sins make us unworthy to return to our Heavenly Father’s presence (see Mosiah 16:2–5).

The Conditional Blessings of the Atonement

2 Nephi 2:5—“By the Law No Flesh Is Justified”

To be justified means to be declared not guilty, to be forgiven of sin. It is to be acceptable or righteous before God. Lehi taught that no one is justified (made righteous) by the law, but that because of violations of the law, men are cut off from God (see 2 Nephi 2:5). As the Apostle Paul taught, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “So by the law, that is, speaking as though there were nothing but the law operating, men would be cut off both temporally and spiritually. They would be cut off temporally because they cannot keep the law perfectly and they would be cut off spiritually because violation of the law makes one unclean and ‘no unclean thing can dwell . . . in his presence’ (Moses 6:57; see also 2 Nephi 9:6–10)” (Gerald N. Lund, “The Fall of Man and His Redemption,” in Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate Jr., eds., The Book of Mormon: Second Nephi, the Doctrinal Structure [1989], 90). “Redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah” because “he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law” (2 Nephi 2:6–7).

Studying the Scriptures

Do three of the following four activities (A–D) as you study 2 Nephi 2.

Activity A iconExplain How Salvation Is Free

  1. Study 2 Nephi 2:3–9 and explain Lehi’s statement that “salvation is free” (v. 4) and his statement that salvation is granted to those who believe in and follow Jesus Christ (see v. 9) are both true. (See the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for help, if needed.)

  2. Search 2 Nephi 2:5–8 and explain what price the Savior paid to save us temporally and spiritually. What would be our situation if there were no Savior? (see v. 5).

Activity B iconLaws of God: Keys to Happiness

Some people think that all laws are manmade—that there are no eternal laws and, therefore, no such condition as sin. They believe people should be able to do whatever they want so long as they do not hurt anyone. After teaching about the need for “opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11), Lehi explained how God’s laws relate to our happiness. Read 2 Nephi 2:13 and write in your notebook the principle you think Lehi was teaching Jacob.

Activity C Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—2 Nephi 2:25

  1. This short verse states a simple truth about the Fall. Read also 2 Nephi 2:22–23, which explains what would have happened had Adam not transgressed and partaken of the forbidden fruit. Write “Because Adam fell . . .” and finish the sentence by listing the consequences of the Fall mentioned in 2 Nephi 2:22–25. (Lehi sometimes explained what would not have happened without the Fall; rephrase those consequences to explain what did happen.)

  2. Adam and Eve

  3. Lehi said, “Men are, that they might have joy” (v. 25). Review the verses in 2 Nephi 2 that have the words happiness, joy, misery, and miserable (vv. 5, 10–11, 13, 18, 23, 25, 27). What did Lehi teach in those verses about how and why we can have joy and who wants us to be miserable?

Activity D Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—2 Nephi 2:27

In your notebook, draw a diagram that illustrates the important doctrine taught in this verse. Make it so that you could hang it in a place where you will see it frequently, to remind you of these important truths.

2 Nephi 3
Joseph Prophesies about Another Joseph

In 2 Nephi 3, Lehi mentioned four different men named Joseph. His words are directed to his youngest son, Joseph. Lehi spoke of the great prophet Joseph who was sold into Egypt. It was from this Joseph that Lehi’s family descended. Lehi quoted a prophecy Joseph of Egypt made before he died. In that prophecy Joseph spoke of the latter days and of two other men named Joseph who would also be his descendants. As you study this chapter, learn who these two latter-day Josephs are and why they are important.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 3

The fruit of . . . loins (vv. 5–7, 11–12, 18–19, 21)—Descendants

Manifest (v. 5)—Shown, made known

Seer (vv. 6–7, 11, 14)—A person who can know of things past, present, and future (see Mosiah 8:13–17)

Esteemed (v. 7)—Valued, respected

Confounding, confounded (vv. 12, 14)—Throwing, or thrown, into disorder; confusing, or confused

Laying down of (v. 12)—Stopping

Commence (v. 13)—Begin

Hearken (v. 23)—Listen and obey

Restoration (v. 24)—To bring back (in this case, to bring back Israel to their God, the truth, their covenants, and their lands)

2 Nephi 3:6–21—Where Is Joseph’s Prophecy Found?

The prophecy of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, quoted by Lehi to his son Joseph is not found in the Bible we have today. It was restored, however, to the Prophet Joseph Smith and is found in the Joseph Smith Translation as Genesis 50:24–38. Lehi found it on the brass plates that his sons obtained from Laban in Jerusalem (see 1 Nephi 3:3, 19–20; 5:10–16; 2 Nephi 4:1–2).

2 Nephi 3:6–18—The Latter-day Josephs

The ancient prophecy of Joseph referred to a latter-day Joseph who would be a great prophet and a blessing both to Lehi’s descendants and to the whole house of Israel. The prophecy said that this latter-day Joseph would also have a father named Joseph. This latter-day prophet is the Prophet Joseph Smith. Thus, there are four different Josephs spoken of in 2 Nephi 3: Joseph of Egypt; Lehi’s son Joseph; the Prophet Joseph Smith; and Joseph Smith Sr., who was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s father.

Joseph of Egypt Joseph Smith

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A and, if you desire, activity B as you study 2 Nephi 3.

Activity A iconAnalyze the Prophet’s Mission

  1. The seer referred to in 2 Nephi 3:6–21 is the Prophet Joseph Smith. List what you learn about his mission from this prophecy. (There are at least 10 things mentioned.) Try to put each in your own words.

  2. Select one part of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s mission and explain how it has had an important effect on your life.

Activity B iconA Prophecy Fulfilled in Our Day

There are two books mentioned in 2 Nephi 3:12—one written by Joseph’s descendants (the Book of Mormon) and one written by Judah’s (the Bible).

  1. List what the prophecy said these two books together would accomplish.

  2. Describe how having both of these books has accomplished the purposes you listed.

  3. Read the recent addition to the title of the Book of Mormon. In what ways is this book “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”?

Elder Boyd K. Packer, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said that the Bible and the Book of Mormon “are now woven together in such a way that as you pore over one you are drawn to the other; as you learn from one you are enlightened by the other. They are indeed one in our hands. Ezekiel’s prophecy [in Ezekiel 37:15–19] now stands fulfilled” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 75; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53).

2 Nephi 4
Nephi’s Psalm

Some of the last words the great prophet Lehi spoke are recorded in 2 Nephi 4. After his father’s death, Nephi recorded some thoughts and feelings about his own spirituality. He wrote about them in a poetic form—much like the psalms of the Old Testament. Consequently, 2 Nephi 4:16–35 has often been called the “psalm of Nephi.” This psalm can be a source of strength for any who love the Lord and want to serve Him but feel weighed down by their weaknesses.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 4

Answered upon the heads of your parents (v. 6)—Your parents will be held accountable

Waxed (vv. 12, 24)—Grew

Admonitions (v. 13)—Corrections for sins

Constrained (v. 14)—Commanded, compelled

Wretched (v. 17)—Miserable, worthless

Grieveth (v. 17)—Is saddened

Encompassed (v. 18)—Surrounded

Beset (v. 18)—Trouble

Confounded (v. 22)—Thrown into disorder, confused

Bidden (v. 25)—Commanded

Condescension of the Lord (v. 26)—Jesus Christ, a divine being, ministering to others

Slacken (vv. 26, 29)—Lessen

Broken (v. 32)—Humbled, without pride

Contrite (v. 32)—Humble, sorrowful for sin

Hedge (v. 33)—Block

Arm of flesh (v. 34)—Man’s wisdom

Liberally (v. 35)—Abundantly, generously

Amiss (v. 35)—Improperly, for the wrong reasons

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study 2 Nephi 4.

Activity A iconRemembering the Prophet Lehi

Lehi memorial

Review Lehi’s last words in 2 Nephi 4:1–11. Consider what you have learned from and about Lehi since 1 Nephi 1 and list three examples of his character that should be remembered about him. For each item, explain why you chose it and how you think remembering it would be a blessing to his descendants.

Activity B iconWrite the Things of Your Soul

In 2 Nephi 4:15–35, we read some of “the things of [Nephi’s] soul” (v. 15). This is a good block of scripture to read aloud. After you have read it, choose five phrases or sentences from what Nephi said that are also a part of “the things of [your] soul.” Explain why you feel each is important to you.

2 Nephi 5
A Divided Family

Despite Lehi’s counsel to be united (see 2 Nephi 1:21), there was a division in the family because of Laman and Lemuel’s continued jealousy and anger toward their brother Nephi. But, just as Nephi testified in 1 Nephi 1:20, the Lord was merciful in delivering the faithful. As you read 2 Nephi 5, notice the difference in the way the two groups of people lived as a result of their attitudes and actions.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 5

Sufficeth (vv. 4, 34)—Is enough

Statutes (v. 10)—Laws, rules

Sow (v. 11)—Plant

Reap (v. 11)—Harvest

Enticing (v. 21)—Tempting, attractive

Loathsome (v. 22)—Disgusting, hateful

Idle (v. 24)—Lazy

Subtlety (v. 24)—Sneakiness, trickery, cunning

Scourge (v. 25)—Affliction, curse, torment

Consecrate (v. 26)—Set apart for a sacred purpose

2 Nephi 5:20–25—“The Cursing” Was Not “a Skin of Blackness”

The cursing” that the Lord caused to come upon the rebellious Lamanites was to be cut off from His presence (see 2 Nephi 5:20–21). The Lord caused “a skin of blackness to come upon them” so that the Nephites would not mix, or intermarry, with them and bring the curse upon themselves (see vv. 21–23).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 2 Nephi 5.

Activity A iconIdentify the Differences

  1. Draw a chart like the following in your notebook and fill it in with information you find in the references given:

  2. Nephites

    What to Look For

    Lamanites

     

    How did the leaders feel? What did they do? (see 2 Nephi 5:1–4, 12, 14–18, 26, 29, 31–32).

     

     

    What did the people do? (see vv. 6–11, 15, 17, 20–22, 24–27).

     

     

    What were the results? (see vv. 11, 13, 16, 20–22, 25–27, 34).

     

  3. The Nephites “lived after the manner of happiness” (2 Nephi 5:27). Review 2 Nephi 5, use the index or Topical Guide to find other scriptures on “happiness,” and list three ways to live “after the manner of happiness.”

2 Nephi 6
Jacob Teaches the People from the Writings of Isaiah

In 2 Nephi 5:26, we read that Nephi set apart Jacob and Joseph to be “priests and teachers” to the Nephites. Some of Jacob’s teachings are recorded in 2 Nephi 6–10, which is a two-day sermon he gave to the Nephite people. In much of chapters 6–8, Jacob quoted the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 49:22–52:2). He also explained why he quoted those passages and what the people should do to understand them better. You may want to first read chapters 6–10, keeping the following information in mind. Then go back and study each chapter using the helps in this study guide.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 6

Anxiety (v. 3)—Feelings of concern and caring

Exhorted (v. 3)—Urged, encouraged

Standard (v. 6)—Something set up by authority as a rule by which others are judged; also a signal (in this case, the signal is the gospel)

Manifest (vv. 9, 14)—Show, make known

Scourge (v. 9)—Beat with a whip that has jagged pieces of bone or stone in the ends

Smitten and afflicted (v. 10)—Punished and suffer physical and mental pain

To and fro (v. 11)—Back and forth

Suffered to perish (v. 11)—Allowed to be entirely destroyed

Tempest (v. 15)—A violent storm

Pestilence (v. 15)—Plague, disease

Prey (vv. 16–17)—Victims of an enemy

Captive delivered (v. 16)—Prisoner set free

Contend with (v. 17)—Fight against

Oppress (v. 18)—Treat unjustly

2 Nephi 6:6–18—In What Order Will These Events Occur?

The events written of in 2 Nephi 6 are not listed in the order in which they happened or will happen. If the events were placed chronologically, the approximate order of the verses would be 8–11, 6–7, 11–18. The following outlines the topics dealt with in these verses:

2 Nephi 6:7, 13—“Wait” for the Lord

The word wait, as used by Isaiah, means to remain strongly attached while staying put, or still, until something expected occurs. To “wait upon the Lord” is to remain true to Him until the time when He sees fit to pour out the full measure of His blessings.

2 Nephi 6:12—The “Great and Abominable Church”

See the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for 1 Nephi 13:5–9 (p. 24).

2 Nephi 6:14—The Lord Will Recover His People a Second Time

The first time the Lord recovered His people, Israel, was when He brought them out of Egypt and sought to establish them in their promised land. The second time He seeks to recover His people is in this dispensation. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “The time has at last arrived when the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has set his hand again the second time to recover the remnants of his people” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 14). The keys of this gathering were restored by Moses in the Kirtland Temple in 1836 (see D&C 110:11).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity C and either A or B as you study 2 Nephi 6.

Activity A iconWhy Should I Listen?

  1. Imagine you are living at the time of Jacob. From what you read in 2 Nephi 6:1–4, list at least three reasons you would give to encourage a friend to join you and listen to Jacob’s teachings.

  2. Explain how those reasons apply to listening to our priesthood leaders today.

Activity B iconExplain the Difference

  1. Read Jacob’s account of the first and second times Jesus Christ would “manifest himself” (see 2 Nephi 6:8–10, 14–15). Compare the two appearances by noting their similarities and differences.

  2. Why do you think the Savior’s second coming will be so different from His first coming?

Activity C iconLiken the Scriptures

Nephi and Jacob told their people that they should liken or apply the scriptures, especially the words of Isaiah, to themselves (see 1 Nephi 19:23; 2 Nephi 6:5). To liken the scriptures to ourselves is to learn what a passage of scripture means, determine what the principles are, and apply those principles to our lives. Study 2 Nephi 6:6–18 and list at least three principles, or truths, and tell how they apply to your life.

2 Nephi 7
The Lord Helps Those Who Trust in Him

Isaiah’s remarkably detailed prophecy of the Messiah, found in Isaiah 50 in the Bible, is also recorded in 2 Nephi 7. See the introduction to 2 Nephi 6 for a more detailed introduction to this and other chapters taken from the writings of Isaiah.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 7

Bill (v. 1)—Legal document

Creditors (v. 1)—Those to whom money is owed

Sackcloth (v. 3)—Clothing made of coarse goat or camel hair worn during times of sadness

Smiter (v. 6)—Someone who beats or whips another

Plucked off the hair (v. 6)—Pulled the hair out of my beard; this was a sign of disrespect

Confounded (v. 7)—Humiliated

Flint (v. 7)—A very hard stone

Justifieth (v. 8)—Forgives

Compass (v. 11)—Surround

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study 2 Nephi 7.

Activity A iconFind a Message

Search 2 Nephi 7 and find a message you think would help the following people. Write the message in your notebook and explain why you think it would help each of the people.

  1. A person who has not obeyed the commandments and feels that the Lord will not help him or her anymore.

  2. A person who is having a difficult time understanding why it is important to follow the Lord’s commandments.

Activity B iconA Prophecy

Which verses in 2 Nephi 7 were written by Isaiah yet sound as though they were spoken by Jesus Christ? Explain why.

Christ

2 Nephi 8
“Awake, Awake!”

Is there anything or anyone you can always depend on in this life? Isaiah’s answer to that question can be found in 2 Nephi 8. As you read that chapter, ponder what a blessing it is to build your life on a foundation that will never fail.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 8

Hewn (v. 1)—Cut

Arm (vv. 5, 9)—Strength, power

Abolished (v. 6)—Done away with

Reproach (v. 7)—Blame or disapproval

Revilings (v. 7)—Insults, abusive language

Ransomed (v. 10)—Redeemed, rescued from captivity (this verse seems to refer to Israel’s exodus from Egypt in the days of Moses and their crossing the Red Sea)

Fury of the oppressor (v. 13)—The fierce or violent anger of the enemy

Captive exile (v. 14)—A person in bondage outside of his or her native land

Hasteneth (v. 14)—Hurries

Dregs (vv. 17, 22)—The sediment and foreign matter that settle at the bottom of a container of wine; to “drink the dregs” of something is to drink the worst part of it

Rebuke (v. 20)—Chastisement given for correction

Uncircumcised (v. 24)—Not of the covenant; people who do not respect or obey the Lord

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study 2 Nephi 8.

Activity A iconIn Your Own Words

In 2 Nephi 8:17–21 (see also Isaiah 51:17–21) the Lord invited Israel to awake to the fact that there is neither peace nor comfort in sin. In contrast, the Lord testified of the peace and comfort that come from following Him. Read 2 Nephi 8:3, 6–8, 11–12, 22–24 and list, using your own words, what the Lord said to Israel about those who trust and follow Him.

Activity B iconLiken the Scriptures

Select one of the following statements and write what you might say to a friend who expressed such feelings. Use what you learned in 2 Nephi 8 and include one or more of the Lord’s promises you identified in activity A.

  1. “I know I should repent and return to church and live according to gospel teachings, but I’m worried about what my friends and employer will think and say. I would have to change my life a lot!”

  2. “I’ve been trying to repent, but I feel guilty all the time. Can I ever really be forgiven and feel clean again? And even if I repent—I’ve already hurt so many others through my sins. What’s the use?”

  3. “Why should I repent? How is living a religious life better than the way I am living now?”

2 Nephi 9
“O How Great the Plan of Our God!”

The chapters of Isaiah that Jacob quoted in 2 Nephi 6–8 revealed much about the power of the Lord to deliver His people. Although Isaiah testified of what the Lord will do for the house of Israel to deliver them from their enemies and gather them to their promised lands, Jacob encouraged the likening of Isaiah’s words to our individual lives (see 2 Nephi 6:5). A great example of likening Isaiah’s teachings is found in 2 Nephi 9 as Jacob taught and testified of the Lord’s power to deliver us from our greatest enemies—death and hell. This chapter contains important truths about Heavenly Father’s plan for His children, including the importance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in that plan.

Christ in Gethsemane

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 9

Bestow upon (v. 3)—Give to

Expedient (vv. 5, 47–48)—Necessary, essential

Behooveth (v. 5)—Is necessary or proper

Become subject (vv. 5, 8)—Be under the authority or control of

Corruption (v. 7)—This refers to the mortal body, which will die

Incorruption; incorruptible (vv. 7, 13)—This refers to the resurrected body, which will live forever

The first judgment (v. 7)—“Thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17) was the first judgment of God pronounced upon man.

Beguiled (v. 9)—Deceived, misled

Nigh unto (v. 9)—Resembling

Immortal (vv. 13, 15)—Able to live forever (especially in a resurrected state)

Executeth (v. 17)—Performs, completes

Despised, despiseth (vv. 18, 42)—Hated

Condemnation (v. 25)—Judged to be guilty

Cunning (v. 28)—Deceitful

Vainness (v. 28)—Pride, self-centeredness

Frailties (v. 28)—Weaknesses

Profiteth them not (v. 28)—Does them no good

Yielding to the enticings (v. 39)—Giving in to the temptations

Carnally-minded (v. 39)—Worldly, given to bodily appetites or desires

Prudent (v. 43)—Careful, wise

Constrained (v. 46)—Compelled, obliged

Prey (v. 46)—Victim

Harrow up (v. 47)—Torment

Abhorreth (v. 49)—Hates, detests

Condescensions (v. 53)—The ministering of Jesus Christ, a divine being, to others

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–D) as you study 2 Nephi 9.

Activity A iconGod’s Divine Nature

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that one of the things necessary in order to “exercise faith in God unto life and salvation” is to have “a correct idea of [God’s] character, perfections, and attributes” (Lectures on Faith [1985], 38). List what you learn about God from Jacob’s exclamatory statements (the statements that begin with the exclamation “O”) in 2 Nephi 9:8, 10, 13, 17, 19–20.

Activity B iconWrite the Questions

One method of studying the scriptures is to ponder on the fact that what you are reading contains important answers from God and then to ask yourself “What were the questions?” Many important truths about Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation for His children are contained in 2 Nephi 9:5–27. Write at least five important doctrinal questions that can be answered from these verses. After each question, include the answer from 2 Nephi 9.

Activity C Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—2 Nephi 9:28–29

  1. How does the doctrine taught in 2 Nephi 9:20 relate to the problem Jacob said some people had? (see vv. 28–29).

  2. Use 2 Nephi 9:28–29 to help you explain what you might say to a Church member who made the following statements:

    1. “I’m not going to try very hard to get an education. It’s all unnecessary and only temporary.”

    2. “It’s alright to drink a little alcohol. Some scientists say that people who drink a little are more healthy than those who do not drink at all.”

    3. “I don’t know why they called him to that position in the Church. I have much more experience than he does, and he’s really not that smart when it comes to the scriptures.”

Activity D iconDraw a Picture

Sketch a drawing with the images mentioned in 2 Nephi 9:41–42.

2 Nephi 10
The Fulfillment of the Lord’s Covenants

Jacob again discussed the future of the house of Israel in 2 Nephi 10. He prophesied concerning what would happen to the Jews, what would happen to his own people, and what would happen to the Gentiles who inherit the lands of his people. Look for why the Jews were scattered and for what must happen before they are gathered home again. Notice also what Jacob said we must do before we can be “received into the eternal kingdom of God” (v. 25).

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 10

Must needs be expedient (v. 3)—Is necessary

Wrought (v. 4)—Performed

Priestcrafts (v. 5)—Preaching for profit and praise (see 2 Nephi 26:29)

Dispersion (v. 8)—Scattering

Fortify (v. 12)—Strengthen

Bond (v. 16)—Servant or slave

Consecrate (v. 19)—Set apart for a sacred purpose

Reconcile yourselves (v. 24)—Be obedient to, be in harmony with

Grace divine (v. 25)—Power from God

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you study 2 Nephi 10.

Activity A iconFinish the Sentences

  1. The Jewish nation was the only nation on earth that would . . . (See 2 Nephi 10:3–4.)

  2. The people in Jerusalem crucified Jesus because of their . . . (See vv. 4–5.)

  3. Because of their sins, the Jews . . . (See v. 6.)

  4. The Jews will be gathered . . . (See vv. 7–9.)

Activity B iconWhat to Remember

  1. From his testimony in 2 Nephi 10:23–24, what two main ideas did Jacob want his people to remember? What does it mean to be “reconciled unto God”?

  2. How would your life be different if you always remembered those two truths?

  3. Write about two ways you are going to try to remember those two truths in the next week.

young couple

2 Nephi 11
Three Witnesses of Jesus Christ

After reading Jacob’s words in the previous five chapters, we return again to the words of Nephi. Nephi also quoted from the prophet Isaiah, and in 2 Nephi 11 he gave some of his reasons for doing so.

In the introductory pages of the Book of Mormon you read the testimony of three special witnesses to the Book of Mormon. In 2 Nephi 11 you will read about three special witnesses in the Book of Mormon. Look for what they are witnesses of.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 11

Sufficeth (v. 1)—Are enough

Typifying (v. 4)—Symbolizing

2 Nephi 11:4—How Are “All Things Which Have Been Given of God” Symbolic of the Savior?

Nephi testified that “all things which have been given of God” are types or symbols of Jesus Christ, His life, ministry, and Atonement. To the prophet Moses, the Lord declared, “All things are created and made to bear record of me” (Moses 6:63). The life and mission of Moses is a good example of how this is true. What Moses did for the Israelites in his day is an example, or pattern, of what Jesus Christ would do for all mankind. Moses was a deliverer, a savior, a lawgiver, a judge, and a guide for his people. On a far grander scale, Jesus Christ is all that and more to all of Heavenly Father’s children.

It is not just the prophets’ lives that remind us of the Savior. Jesus Himself used many ordinary things to symbolize His role in our lives. For example, He taught that He was like bread (see John 6:35), water (see John 7:37–38), light (see John 8:12), a vine (see John 15:5), and even a hen (see Matthew 23:37). Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught: “If we had sufficient insight, we would see in every gospel ordinance, in every rite that is part of revealed religion, in every performance commanded of God, in all things Deity gives his people, something that typifies the eternal ministry of the Eternal Christ” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [1978], 378).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you study 2 Nephi 11.

Activity A iconWho? Where? Why?

  1. Who are the three special witnesses of Christ mentioned in 2 Nephi 11?

  2. Using the study helps in your scriptures, write the scripture reference showing where each man’s witness can be found.

  3. Why do you think Nephi wanted us to know of these witnesses? In your answer, use what Nephi said in 2 Nephi 11 as well as your own thoughts.

first witness second witness third witness

Activity B iconWhat Brings You Enjoyment?

  1. Find the five times Nephi said “my soul delighteth” in 2 Nephi 11. List what he said brought him enjoyment and satisfaction.

  2. Write three “my soul delighteth” statements of your own—in the same style as Nephi’s—that represent what brings you enjoyment and satisfaction, and explain why.

2 Nephi 12
Come to the Mountain of the Lord

The next thirteen chapters, 2 Nephi 12–24, are quoted from the book of Isaiah (see Isaiah 2–14). Nephi said he included Isaiah’s words because they contained Isaiah’s testimony of Christ and so that all who read them might “lift up their hearts and rejoice for all men” (2 Nephi 11:8; see also v. 2). Repeating what he and his brother Jacob had taught before, Nephi said to “liken” the words of Isaiah to ourselves (2 Nephi 11:8; see also 1 Nephi 19:23; 2 Nephi 6:5). We liken the scriptures to ourselves when we try to identify how something that happened in the scriptures has application in our lives today.

After quoting from the book of Isaiah, Nephi wrote about understanding the message of Isaiah. You may want to read 2 Nephi 25:1–8 before reading 2 Nephi 12–24 and find what Nephi taught about the prophecies of Isaiah. Isaiah wrote in a different style from other writers in the Book of Mormon. He used poetry and symbolic language after the manner of the Jews to convey his message. As you look for the principles of the gospel represented by his poetry and symbolism and liken them to our day and to yourself, you will find many passages in these chapters that are very meaningful to you.

When Isaiah prophesied, there were two kingdoms of Israelites—the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel (also called Ephraim). Many Israelites in both kingdoms had turned from the Lord and had put their trust in idols and in their own wisdom and strength. In addition, both nations were continually threatened by war with hostile neighbors, particularly the powerful nation of Assyria. Isaiah’s messages clearly identified the sins of the Israelites, the consequences of those sins, what the people could do to repent, and the tender mercies of the Lord available to them if they would repent. These messages may be likened to all covenant people who have strayed from the Lord.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 12

Exalted (vv. 2, 11, 17)—Raised up high, put in a high place

Rebuke (v. 4)—Call to repentance, reprimand

Be replenished from the east (v. 6)—Take their spiritual nourishment from the pagan religions of Assyria and Babylon

Soothsayers (v. 6)—People who try to foretell future events, fortune-tellers

Lofty (vv. 11–12)—Proud

Haughtiness (vv. 11, 17)—Pride

Utterly abolish (v. 18)—Completely destroy

Cast (v. 20)—Throw away

Cease ye from man (v. 22)—Stop trusting in man

Accounted of (v. 22)—Regarded, considered

2 Nephi 12:2–4—“The Mountain of the Lord’s House”

Salt Lake Temple

In Isaiah’s day, the phrase “mountain of the Lord’s house” specifically referred to the temple in Jerusalem. Prophets in our day have taught that it refers also to all temples, which become “mountains of the Lord” where people may come and learn of God’s ways so they can walk in His paths. President Howard W. Hunter taught that Isaiah’s vision applies both to individuals and to the whole world. After encouraging members to “make the temple, with temple worship and temple covenants and temple marriage, our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience,” he gave the following invitation and promise:

“May you let the meaning and beauty and peace of the temple come into your everyday life more directly in order that the millennial day may come, that promised time when ‘they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more . . . [but shall] walk in the light of the Lord’ (Isa. 2:4–5)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 118; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 88).

Howard W. Hunter

2 Nephi 12:12—“The Day of the Lord”

The day of the Lord” is a phrase that refers to a time of judgment. For the many Israelites, it was when the Assyrians and the Babylonians came to conquer. The Second Coming of Christ will be a “day of the Lord” when the wicked will be destroyed. On an individual level, the day of the Lord may be the day we die and return to God or simply a time when we realize our circumstances are beyond our control and we need the Lord’s help. As quoted in 2 Nephi 12:10–22, Isaiah dramatically described how earthly things that seem so valuable to some will mean nothing at that day.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 2 Nephi 12.

Activity A iconPicture the Message

As quoted in 2 Nephi 12:2–4, Isaiah prophesied of the blessings that would come to Israel when they placed the temple and its ordinances and covenants above all earthly things. In 2 Nephi 12:5–9 is his description of what the people felt was important and what they trusted in instead of the Lord. Draw a picture that represents Isaiah’s message in 2 Nephi 12:1–9. You could draw it, make a collage using pictures from magazines and newspapers, or use a combination of both. Include what you think are modern examples of the idols and false ways of obtaining guidance that Isaiah spoke about in verses 6–9.

2 Nephi 13–14
“The Daughters of Zion”

In 2 Nephi 13:1–12 is the continuation of Isaiah’s discussion of what would happen if the Israelites persisted in putting their trust in false religions. Isaiah called the Israelites the “daughters of Zion” (v. 16), which represents the idea that they are children of the covenant, and he likened them to a prideful woman who becomes humiliated. In contrast, in 2 Nephi 14 is Isaiah’s description of what would happen when the daughters of Zion humble themselves, repent, and turn to the Lord.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 13

The stay and the staff (v. 1)—All of their support

Cunning artificer (v. 3)—Skilled craftsman

Eloquent orator (v. 3)—Pleasing and persuasive speaker

Oppressed (v. 5)—Overpowered, overburdened

Base (v. 5)—The lowest

Provoke (v. 8)—Stir up to anger

Countenance (v. 9)—Appearance

Spoil (v. 14)—Things taken from another through threats or violence

Wanton (v. 16)—Lustful, with no respect for the law of chastity

Mincing (v. 16)—Walking in a way to attract attention

Discover their secret parts (v. 17)—Expose them, put them to shame

Cauls (v. 18)—Hairnets

Round tires like the moon (v. 18)—Necklaces with crescent shapes indicating worship of a moon goddess

Mantles . . . wimples . . . crisping-pins (v. 22)—Cloaks, hoods, and hair curlers

Girdle (v. 24)—Belt

Rent (v. 24)—Tear or rip

Stomacher (v. 24)—Robe

Sackcloth (v. 24)—Clothing made of coarse goat or camel hair worn during times of sadness

Lament (v. 26)—Cry, moan

Desolate (v. 26)—Empty; deserted by God

2 Nephi 14

Reproach (v. 1)—Shame, disgrace

Comely (v. 2)—Attractive

Purged (v. 4)—Cleansed, purified

Tabernacle (v. 6)—Shelter

Refuge (v. 6)—Peace and safety

Covert (v. 6)—Shelter

2 Nephi 13–14—When Will Isaiah’s Prophecy Be Fulfilled?

A characteristic of many of Isaiah’s prophecies is that they can have more than one fulfillment. A fulfillment of the tragedy described in 2 Nephi 13 (Isaiah 3) can be seen in the events surrounding the fall of Judah and Jerusalem (see 2 Nephi 13:8; Isaiah 3:8) at the hands of the Babylonians about 587 B.C. Notice, however, that the heading to 2 Nephi 14 clearly places one fulfillment of those events in the “millennial day.” When we look at 2 Nephi 13 symbolically, it is not difficult to see described in those verses the sins of these last days.

Babylonians capturing Jerusalem

2 Nephi 14:1—Seven Women

Continuing with the image of the daughters of Zion that was begun in 2 Nephi 13, chapter 14 contains Isaiah’s description of women who were so humbled by their situation that seven of them would be willing to be married to the same man. The Lord frequently uses marriage to symbolize the covenant relationship between Him and His Church; the Lord is the groom and the Church is the bride. By being unfaithful and worshiping idols, Israel had symbolically left the Lord and married another. As described in 2 Nephi 12–13, however, those idols provide no protection and are destroyed in “the day of the Lord” (see 2 Nephi 12:12–13). Then Israel realizes that what she put her trust in provides no help (see 2 Nephi 13:18). And 2 Nephi 14:1 symbolically describes the humility of the daughters of Zion as they seek to become married again, or return to the Lord. That kind of humility results in their redemption and cleansing (see 2 Nephi 14:2–4).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 2 Nephi 13–14.

Activity A iconFind the Topics

In 2 Nephi 13–14 are several powerful images Isaiah used to describe what keeps people from coming unto Christ, as well as important principles that relate to coming unto Christ. Write the following topics in your notebook. After each topic, write words and phrases from 2 Nephi 13–14 that describe what Isaiah taught about them and the verses where you found the words and phrases.

  1. Pride and worldliness

  2. Sorrow for sin

  3. God’s power to cleanse us from sin and guilt

  4. The power of keeping covenants in protecting us from evil

2 Nephi 15
Sins and Consequences

In 2 Nephi 15 (Isaiah 5) is Isaiah’s continued identification of the sins of the children of Israel and their consequences if the people did not repent. If you read carefully, you will see that the sins of the people of Isaiah’s day are much like sins people commit today.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 15

Touching (v. 1)—About

Hedge (v. 5)—Protecting fence

Judgment (v. 7)—Justice, fairness

Oppression (v. 7)—Unjust or cruel treatment

Desolate (v. 9)—Empty

Ten acres . . . bath, and . . . homer . . . ephah (v. 10)—The fields will produce far less than they should (see Bible Dictionary, “weights and measures,” pp. 788–89).

Famished (v. 13)—Starved

Pomp (v. 14)—Splendor

Sanctified (v. 16)—Made holy

Draw (v. 18)—Pull

Prudent (v. 21)—Careful, wise

Justify (v. 23)—Consider guiltless

Chaff (v. 24)—Light outer covering, or husk, of grain

2 Nephi 15:8—“Them That Join House to House”

Each family in Israel was assigned a certain portion of land when they entered the promised land in the days of Moses and Joshua. This land was not to be sold (see Leviticus 25:23–24; 1 Kings 21:1–3), but greedy people would try to obtain it anyway. “Joining house to house” refers to attempts of the greedy to buy up all the land in Israel.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 2 Nephi 15.

Activity A iconModernize the Message

The word wo refers to a condition of deep sadness. Isaiah used it six times as he identified the sins of the Israelites (see 2 Nephi 15:8–22). He knew that if they did not repent, the consequences of their sins would bring deep sadness—especially at the time of judgment. If Isaiah were a prophet on earth today, he would probably find the same kinds of sins. Write a modern “wo” statement for each of the six things Isaiah condemned. Each should contain an example of the way people commit, or are tempted to commit, these sins today.

2 Nephi 16
Isaiah Sees the Lord

Nephi said that Isaiah had seen the Lord (see 2 Nephi 11:2). Isaiah’s account of his vision and his calling to be a prophet is quoted in 2 Nephi 16. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 365).

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 16

Train (v. 1)—The edge of his robe; the description of it filling the temple is symbolic and represents the greatness of the Lord

Seraphim (vv. 2, 6)—Heavenly beings, angels

Undone (v. 5)—Ruined, destroyed

Purged (v. 7)—Cleansed, purified

Perceived not (v. 9)—Did not recognize or understand

Forsaking (v. 12)—Leaving, deserting

2 Nephi 16:2—Why Did the Seraphim Have Wings?

The wings represented their power to move, to act, and to do other things (see D&C 77:4).

2 Nephi 16:8—Isaiah Followed the Savior’s Example

Isaiah’s response to the call to serve was similar to the way Jesus Christ responded in the premortal life (see Moses 4:1; Abraham 3:27).

2 Nephi 16:9–11—What Was Isaiah Supposed to Do When He Preached?

Verse 9 explains that although Isaiah would make the truth known to his people, they would reject it. The tone of verse 10 is therefore ironic or sarcastic. The Lord said that the more Isaiah taught the truth, the more the people would close their eyes and ears to it. Therefore, Isaiah’s calling was to teach and testify until the people’s ears were entirely shut and their eyes entirely closed or, as verse 11 says, until there is no one to preach to. Mormon and Moroni were given a similar calling later in the Book of Mormon (see Moroni 9:6).

Isaiah preaching

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 2 Nephi 16.

Activity A iconWhat Is the Lesson?

  1. How did Isaiah feel in the presence of the Lord? (see v. 5).

  2. What changed the way he felt? (see vv. 6–7).

  3. What does this teach us about what we must do in order to stand in the presence of the Lord with confidence?

2 Nephi 17–19
Prophecies of the Messiah

Isaiah writing about the birth of Christ

Chapters 17–19 of 2 Nephi (Isaiah 7–9) center around specific historical events and people from Isaiah’s time (he prophesied from approximately 740–700 B.C.). The kingdom of Judah—to whom Isaiah prophesied in these chapters—was threatened by the northern kingdom of Israel (called Ephraim), who joined with Syria to attack Judah (see 2 Nephi 17:1–2). The Lord’s message through the prophet Isaiah was that the people of Judah should trust the Lord and He would deliver them. They were not to join with other nations for protection (see 2 Nephi 18:11–12) nor listen to any other advice (see vv. 19–22), but simply trust the Lord (see vv. 8–10, 13–17).

map
Places referred to in 2 Nephi 17–19
[click for scalable version]

Perhaps the most important reason the Lord promised to deliver the kingdom of Judah was because when He came to fulfill His mortal ministry He would be born in the family of Judah as a direct descendant of King David. Consequently, He would preserve His people until that promised event occurred (see 2 Nephi 20:27; remember that the word Messiah means “the anointed one”). As you read these chapters, look for important prophecies about the birth and mission of Jesus Christ that are found throughout Isaiah’s words to the Jews. Also consider how Isaiah’s message of trusting in the power of the Lord’s deliverance applies to you personally, as well as to all who are waiting for the Second Coming of the Messiah.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 17

The house of David (v. 2)—The king of Judah

Confederate (v. 2)—Joined in a treaty

Conduit (v. 3)—Channel for moving water

Smoking firebrands (v. 4)—Torches whose flame had gone out and were just smoking

Vex (v. 6)—Irritate, torment

Make a breach therein for us (v. 6)—Force our way in

Immanuel (v. 14)—Hebrew word meaning “God with us”; refers to Jesus Christ

The land that thou abhorrest (v. 16)—The countries of your enemies

Uttermost (v. 18)—Farthest

Mattock (v. 25)—Type of hoe used for breaking up the soil

2 Nephi 17:8, 16—A Prophecy against the Enemies of Judah

This prophecy of the destruction of Ephraim (the northern kingdom of Israel) and Syria was fulfilled in 721 B.C. when they were conquered by Assyria (see also 2 Nephi 18:4). The Assyrians carried away captive many Israelites of the northern kingdom (see 2 Kings 17:22–23) and they became known as “the lost tribes of Israel” (see 3 Nephi 15:15; 17:4).

2 Nephi 18

Breadth (v. 8)—The whole width

Associate yourselves . . . gird yourselves (v. 9)—Get ready for battle

Naught (v. 10)—Nothing

Sanctuary (v. 14)—Place of safety and protection

A gin and a snare (v. 14)—A trap

Hardly bestead (v. 21)—In a difficult or hazardous situation

Fret (v. 21)—Be irritated or annoyed

2 Nephi 18:1–8—Maher-shalal-hash-baz

In 2 Nephi 17, we read that the Lord promised Ahaz, the king of Judah, that He would be with the people of Judah and preserve them. As a sign, the Lord told Ahaz that a woman would have a son and his name would be Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught: “There are plural or parallel elements to this prophecy, as with so much of Isaiah’s writing. The most immediate meaning was probably focused on Isaiah’s wife, a pure and good woman who brought forth a son about this time, the child becoming a type and shadow of the greater, later fulfillment of the prophecy that would be realized in the birth of Jesus Christ” (Christ and the New Covenant [1997], 79).

In 2 Nephi 18 we read that Isaiah’s wife had a baby and the Lord said to name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz, which means “to speed to the spoil, he hasteneth the prey,” or “destruction is about to occur.” The king of Judah rejected Isaiah’s counsel and instead of God being with them, they would experience destruction at the hands of the Assyrians. As recorded in later prophecies of Isaiah, however, the Lord did not allow the Assyrians to entirely destroy the people of Judah. He preserved the city of Jerusalem for another 100 years, when they would be taken captive by a less destructive conqueror—the Babylonians. Eventually, this merciful protection of the Lord provided a way for Jews to return to Jerusalem and for Jesus to be born of the Jews in the land prophesied in scripture, and thus give greater fulfillment to the prophecy given to Ahaz by Isaiah (see 2 Nephi 17:14).

Nativity scene

2 Nephi 19

More grievously afflict (v. 1)—Trouble a lot more, torment

Spoil (v. 3)—Property taken from their enemies in war

Yoke (v. 4)—A wooden frame placed around the necks of animals or people so they can pull or carry heavy loads; here it symbolizes bondage or slavery

Staff, rod (v. 4)—Sticks used to correct or to beat animals or slaves and sometimes used for aid in walking

Zeal (v. 7)—Eager desire

Stoutness (v. 9)—Boldness or strength

Adversaries (v. 11)—Enemies

Hypocrite (v. 17)—A person who pretends to be what he or she really is not

Folly (v. 17)—Foolishness

Briers (v. 18)—A prickly plant or shrub

2 Nephi 19:1–7—Prophecies about the Area of Galilee

Christ teaching

The northernmost part of Israel, near the sea of Galilee, was the area of Israel first attacked by enemies who came from the north (see the map on p. 48). When those conquering armies came, this area suffered the most destruction. Isaiah’s prophecy quoted in 2 Nephi 19:1–7 promised this area deliverance through a child, a descendant of David, who was also their “Mighty God.” This area of Galilee is where Jesus spent much of His mortal ministry. As recorded in 2 Nephi 19:5, He removed their captivity and burdens not with physical battle, but by the inner burnings of the Holy Ghost (see also D&C 19:31).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 2 Nephi 17–19.

Activity A iconProphecies about Jesus Christ

  1. What verse from 2 Nephi 17 (Isaiah 7) does Matthew 1:20–23 show was fulfilled? You may want to cross-reference these two scriptures.

  2. List the names and titles of Jesus Christ found in 2 Nephi 18:13–14; 19:6. Next to each, write why it is an appropriate name or title for Him.

2 Nephi 20
The Enemies of God’s People Are Destroyed

Assyrian archer

The Lord allowed the Assyrians to conquer the northern kingdom of Israel. He also allowed them to destroy many parts of the kingdom of Judah. In 2 Nephi 20 (Isaiah 10), we read what the Lord said about the Assyrians and about why they were not allowed to entirely conquer Judah.

As you read this chapter, think of ways that Isaiah’s words might apply to the Lord’s people in the last days and to those who persecute them. The teachings in this chapter may also be likened to a person who has turned from the Lord and feels God’s judgments upon him or her and who wonders if there is any hope for a return to Him.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 20

Decree unrighteous decrees (v. 1)—Give wicked orders or rules

Grievousness (v. 1)—Injustice, sorrow

Prescribed (v. 1)—Ordered

Judgment (v. 2)—Justice, fairness

Prey (vv. 2, 6)—Victim

Indignation (vv. 5, 25)—Anger, disgust

Mire (v. 6)—Deep mud

Did excel (v. 10)—Surpassed

Stout (v. 12)—Bold, proud

Heweth (v. 15)—Cuts, chops

Standard-bearer (v. 18)—Person who carried the flag into battle

Remnant (vv. 20–22)—Remaining part

Stay upon (v. 20)—Depend upon

Consumption (vv. 22–23)—Destruction

Stir up a scourge (v. 26)—Incite a punishment

Lop the bough (v. 33)—Cut off the branch

Haughty (v. 33)—Proud

2 Nephi 20:28–34—Cities in Israel and Judah

These verses describe an army coming from the north toward Jerusalem, destroying cities along the way.

When the army reached Jerusalem, the Lord would cut the enemies down and the Jews would be preserved. One historical fulfillment of this is recorded in Isaiah 36–37.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 2 Nephi 20.

Activity A iconIdentify the Principle

  1. According to 2 Nephi 20:13–16, what attitudes of the Assyrians angered the Lord? (These same attitudes caused the Israelites to bring trouble upon themselves; see 2 Nephi 12:8–9; 15:21). What are ways that people show these same attitudes today?

  2. According to verses 20–22, what change will a remnant of the children of Israel make that will bring them back to the Lord? How might this apply to people today who want to, or need to, return to the Lord?

2 Nephi 21–22
The Great Day of the Lord

When Moroni visited the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1823, he told Joseph that Isaiah 11 (which is quoted in 2 Nephi 21) “was about to be fulfilled” (Joseph Smith—History 1:40). That helps us understand that Isaiah’s prophecies quoted in 2 Nephi 21–22 are about the last days and the millennial reign of Christ.

These chapters would have been a source of hope to Israelites who understood that even though the Lord would cut down His people for their wickedness, out of the stem, or stump that would be left after the cutting was done, would come the Messiah (see 2 Nephi 21:1). This message can also give hope to individuals who feel they have had misfortunes in their lives. God has the power to make great things come out of that which appears devastated. Those who take advantage of His merciful blessings may feel to sing praises to God like those found in 2 Nephi 22.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 21

Rod (v. 1)—New growth, a branch

Stem (v. 1)—The main body of the tree or plant

Reprove (vv. 3–4)—To scold or correct with kindly intent

Equity (v. 4)—Justice, fairness

Meek (v. 4)—Lowly, humble

Rod (v. 4)—Discipline (different from the meaning of rod in v. 1)

Girdle of his loins, girdle of his reins (v. 5)—Both of these phrases refer to a belt

Sucking (v. 8)—Very young, nursing

Ensign (vv. 10, 12)—A flag or banner to which those who have allegiance to that flag gather

Dispersed (v. 12)—Scattered

Envy (v. 13)—Be jealous of

Adversaries (v. 13)—Enemies

Vex (v. 13)—Irritate, torment

Spoil (v. 14)—Destroy and take the riches

Dry shod (v. 15)—Without getting their feet wet

2 Nephi 21:1–5—Jesus Christ Is the Branch

Christ

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, speaking of 2 Nephi 21, taught, “It is clear from the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants that the principle character in this passage is Jesus Christ” (Christ and the New Covenant, 86; see also 2 Nephi 30:7–9; D&C 113:1–6). Jesse, referred to in 2 Nephi 21:1, was the father of King David and, consequently, the father of the kingly line in Israel. Although kings from David’s line no longer reigned in Judah at the time of Christ’s birth, Jesus was born to that kingly line (see Matthew 1:1–17). Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah and was born in a time when the kingdom of Judah was more like a stump than the mighty growing tree it once was in the time of David and Solomon.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 2 Nephi 21–22.

Activity A iconLearn More about Jesus Christ

  1. List what you learn about the Savior from 2 Nephi 21:1–5; 22:1–6.

  2. Choose one item from your list that inspires you to “lift up your heart and rejoice,” as Nephi hoped in 2 Nephi 11:8. Explain why it inspires and lifts you.

2 Nephi 23–24
The Fall of Babylon

The kingdom of Judah was spared from destruction at the hands of the Assyrians in 721 B.C. However, because of the increasing wickedness of the people of Judah, the Babylonians conquered them about 587 B.C. It was to escape that destruction that the Lord led Lehi and his family away from Jerusalem. Babylon was a very worldly, idolatrous nation. These prophecies of Isaiah show that even though the Lord used Babylon to punish Judah, Babylon’s day of judgment would come just as Judah’s had.

Because of Babylon’s worldliness and wickedness, it became a symbol for all worldliness and wickedness (see D&C 1:16; 133:14). The destruction of the spiritual Babylon will occur at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Consider how these prophecies of Isaiah will apply at that time and how they can encourage you to be faithful in a world where Babylon seems to have power. Note also in 2 Nephi 24 (Isaiah 14) that Isaiah compared the king of Babylon to Lucifer. From that passage we learn how Lucifer fell in the premortal life.

Jerusalem ruins
Photo by Gerald Silver on Lynn Hilton Expedition, 1976

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 23

Burden (v. 1)—Message of judgment

Sanctified ones (v. 3)—Righteous covenant people, Saints

Tumultuous (v. 4)—Confused, disorderly

Mustereth (v. 4)—Calls together

Desolate (vv. 9, 22)—Empty

Arrogancy (v. 11)—Pride, feelings of being above others

Ravished (v. 16)—Seized and carried away by violence, raped

Fruit of the womb (v. 18)—Small children

Doleful creatures (v. 21)—Sorrowful creatures; this is referring to wild beasts that live in the desert

Satyrs (v. 21)—Male goats or demons

Prolonged (v. 22)—Lengthened

2 Nephi 23:11, 15, 19—The Sin of Pride

We read in 2 Nephi 23–24 that God condemned Babylon for the same kinds of sins that He condemned in the Israelites and the Assyrians—all centering around pride (see 2 Nephi 12:10–12; 13:15–26; 15:15, 21; 18:9–10; 20:12–15).

2 Nephi 24

Cleave (v. 1)—Join with

Oppressors (vv. 2, 4)—Those who rule over and mistreat them

Proverb (v. 4)—A short saying that teaches a truth

Ceased (v. 4)—Stopped being powerful

Scepters (v. 5)—Staffs representing authority to rule

Hindereth (v. 6)—Prevents or stops it

Pomp (v. 11)—Splendor

Ascend (vv. 13–14)—Go up

Carcass (v. 19)—Dead body

Renowned (v. 20)—Famous, celebrated for great achievements

Bittern (v. 23)—A fish-eating bird, a heron

Besom (v. 23)—Broom

Disannul (v. 27)—Cancel, make ineffective

Rod (v. 29)—Stick used for punishment or aid in walking

Out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and . . . a fiery flying serpent (v. 29)—From a lesser, nonpoisonous snake will come forth a poisonous snake

Root (v. 30)—Source, origin

Dissolved (v. 31)—Destroyed, ended

Studying the Scriptures

Do either activity A or B as you study 2 Nephi 23–24.

Activity A iconWrite a Quiz

Babylon destroyed

Isaiah’s prophecy of the destruction of Babylon and its king is quoted in 2 Nephi 23–24. Write a 10-question quiz that focuses on what you think are the most important concepts taught in these two chapters. Write the answers in parentheses after each question.

Activity B iconSummarize the Doctrine

  1. Write several statements that summarize what you learn from 2 Nephi 24:4–20 about how Lucifer became Satan and what will eventually happen to him and those who serve him.

  2. What else do you learn about Satan and his followers from Doctrine and Covenants 76:25–30, 33, 36–38, 44–46 and Moses 4:1–4?

2 Nephi 25
“Believe in Christ”

One of the reasons Nephi gave for including the words of Isaiah on the small plates was Isaiah’s testimony of Christ (see 2 Nephi 11:1, 4, 6, 8). After Nephi finished quoting from Isaiah, he explained that he knew the words of Isaiah would be hard to understand, but very valuable. Look for the ways Nephi said we might better understand Isaiah’s prophecies (see 2 Nephi 25:1–8 in particular). Look also for Nephi’s own prophecy of Christ, which he gives in “plainness” (2 Nephi 25:4).

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 25

Abominations (v. 2)—Sins; thoughts and acts that are offensive to God

Confine (v. 8)—Limit

Scourged (v. 16)—Punished

Expedient (vv. 16, 30)—Necessary, essential

Reconciled (v. 23)—To be brought back again into unity after being in disagreement

Grace (v. 23)—The power of Jesus Christ (see also Bible Dictionary, “grace,” p. 697)

Steadfastness (v. 24)—Firmness of mind or purpose

Sufficient (v. 28)—Enough

In nowise (v. 29)—Not in any manner or degree

2 Nephi 25:1–8—Five Keys to Understanding Isaiah

Nephi, while explaining why the words of Isaiah were “hard for many of my people to understand” (2 Nephi 25:1), provided the following keys for gaining a better understanding of Isaiah:

  1. Understand the Jews (vv. 1–2, 5). The “manner of prophesying among the Jews,” such as their use of symbolism and dual meanings, and other “things of the Jews” were unique.

  2. Use modern scripture (vv. 3–4). Modern scripture is the best commentary on Isaiah. Nephi prophesied in “plainness” many of the same things Isaiah spoke of in beautiful symbolism. The better we understand the gospel, the easier it will be to understand it in Isaiah.

  3. Pray for the “spirit of prophecy” (v. 4). As we live worthy of the gifts of the Spirit, all things will be revealed to us according to the will of the Lord and as we are able to receive those things (see also Alma 12:9–11).

  4. Study the geography of the Holy Land (v. 6). Isaiah often used the setting of the Holy Land—the people, nations, and places—to illustrate his message.

  5. Watch for the fulfillment of prophecy (vv. 7–8). Those parts of Isaiah’s prophecies that remain unclear to us will become clear as we see them come to pass in these last days.

2 Nephi 25:23—We Are Saved by Grace, after All We Can Do

We are saved by the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We must, however, come unto Christ on His terms in order to obtain all the blessings that He freely offers us. We come unto Christ by doing “all we can do” to remember Him, keep our covenants with Him, and obey His commandments (see D&C 20:77, 79; see also Abraham 3:25).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study 2 Nephi 25.

Activity A iconMake a Time Line

Make a time line in your notebook, labeling it “Nephi’s Day” on one end and “The Second Coming of Jesus Christ” on the other. Fill it in with at least five of Nephi’s prophesies in 2 Nephi 25:10–19. You may want to add to this time line as you read the next few chapters in 2 Nephi.

Activity B iconAnswer a Nonmember’s Question

  1. Imagine that someone who is not a member of the Church asked, “Do Latter-day Saints worship or even believe in Christ?” List five or more truths from 2 Nephi 25:20–30 you could point out that illustrate our beliefs in Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him.

  2. What personal feelings and testimony about Christ would you share with that person?

Christ resurrected

2 Nephi 26
Nephi Prophesies about His Descendants

After prophesying in 2 Nephi 25 of the destruction and scattering of the Jews, Nephi prophesied in chapter 26 of the destruction and scattering of his own people. Notice why he said it would happen and how he and the Lord felt about it.

Nephi also spoke about the Gentiles of the last days and of their relationship to his people. In this case, the Gentiles are nations and people of the world who are not Jews or descendants of Lehi. Because they lived in “Gentile” nations, the Prophet Joseph Smith and others who were part of the Restoration of the gospel would be considered Gentiles in the prophecies of Nephi.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 26

Contentions (v. 2)—Arguments, disagreements

Stubble (vv. 4, 6)—Short dry stalks that remain after the grain is harvested

Well nigh consumeth me (v. 7)—Nearly takes away all of my strength

Naught (v. 10)—Nothing

Yield (v. 10)—To give way, surrender

Strive (v. 11)—Work hard

Dwindled (vv. 15, 17, 19)—Fallen gradually away

Laid siege (v. 15)—Attacked

Envyings (v. 21)—Jealousy

Strifes (v. 21)—Arguments

Malice (vv. 21, 32)—Desire to harm another

Flaxen cord (v. 22)—A rope made of linen

Welfare (v. 29)—Happiness and well-being

Zion (vv. 29–31)—The Lord’s kingdom on earth

Whoredoms (v. 32)—Sexual sins

Heathen (v. 33)—Nonbelievers

2 Nephi 26:20—The Gentiles’ Great Stumbling Block

According to Nephi’s teachings in 1 Nephi 13:29, the Gentiles stumbled because “plain and precious things” were removed from the scriptures, leaving them with an unclear picture of the true doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following three activities (A–C) as you study 2 Nephi 26.

Activity A iconDesign a Picture

Draw a full-page picture in your notebook that represents the ideas in 2 Nephi 26:3, 8, 10 about why the Nephites were destroyed.

Activity B iconImportant Gospel Topics for Our Day

  1. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 3; or Ensign, May 1987, 4). Based on what Nephi taught about that time period in 2 Nephi 26:1–11, list three gospel topics you would include if you were assigned to give a talk on preparing to be with the Savior at His Second Coming. Next to each topic, list the verse in 2 Nephi 26 where it is found.

  2. Add four more topics to your list, based on what Nephi taught in 2 Nephi 26:20–22, 29–32 about the Gentiles in the last days.

Christ dividing righteous and wicked

Activity C iconLearn Important Truths about God

  1. Based on what you read in 2 Nephi 26:23–28, 33, list three statements about what the Lord is like.

  2. For each statement, explain what difference you think it makes to know that particular truth about the Lord.

2 Nephi 27
The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon

In 2 Nephi 26:16–17, Nephi prophesied that his words and the words of his people would speak “out of the dust” to his descendants in the latter days. In 2 Nephi 27, he prophesied more about how that would come to pass “in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles” (v. 1).

gold plates

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 27

Tempest (v. 2)—A violent storm

Stay yourselves and wonder (v. 4)—Stop and think or ponder about it

Seers (v. 5)—Prophets, men with spiritual vision (see Bible Dictionary, “seer,” p. 771)

Preserve (v. 22)—Save

Precepts (v. 25)—Commandments, principles

Esteemed (vv. 27–28)—Valued, respected

Obscurity (v. 29)—A state of being unknown

Meek (v. 30)—Lowly, humble

Scorner (v. 31)—One who mocks

Him that reproveth in the gate (v. 32)—The person who has the authority to tell you when you are doing wrong (such as a judge, bishop, or parents)

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 2 Nephi 27.

Activity A iconExplain the Fulfillment of Prophecy

  1. In your notebook, make a chart like the one following. In the column labeled “Prophecy,” write the verses from 2 Nephi 27 that contain the prophecy fulfilled by the events described in the scripture references you read in the “Fulfillment” column.

  2. Prophecy

    Fulfillment

     

    Joseph Smith—History 1:59, 63–64

     

    The Testimony of Three Witnesses

     

    The Testimony of Eight Witnesses

     

    Joseph Smith—History 1:63–65

     

    Joseph Smith—History 1:19

    Martin Harris with professor

  3. Having read the scriptures in the “Fulfillment” column, give the names of the people spoken of in the following phrases in 2 Nephi 27: “a man” (v. 9), “another” (vv. 9, 15), “three witnesses” (v. 12), “a few” (v. 13), “the learned” (vv. 15, 18), “him that is not learned” (vv. 19–20).

  4. Eight Witnesses

2 Nephi 28
Sins and Traps of the Latter Days

In 2 Nephi 27, Nephi prophesied of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the latter days to lift the darkness of the Apostasy. In 2 Nephi 28, Nephi described what Satan would try to do to keep people from seeing that light and learning about the Lord and His truths. Those who read, understand, and follow the counsel in 2 Nephi 28 will have a great advantage in overcoming the traps of Satan and the false teachings of men in the latter days.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 28

Constrained (v. 1)—Commanded, compelled

Remnant (v. 2)—Remaining part

Contend (v. 4)—Argue, debate

Utterance (v. 4)—Revelation, inspiration

Precept (vv. 5–6, 14, 26, 30)—Commandment, principle

Justify (v. 8)—Consider guiltless

Sanctuaries (v. 13)—Church buildings

Pervert (v. 15)—Change to evil

Revile against (v. 16)—Speak evil of, insult with abusive language

Pacify (v. 21)—Calm

Lull (v. 21)—Put at rest quietly

Carnal (v. 21)—Worldly, not spiritual

Seized (v. 23)—Captured

Maketh flesh his arm (v. 31)—Considers man to be the greatest source of power

Arm is lengthened out (v. 32)—Power to help is available

2 Nephi 28:7–8—“Eat, Drink, and Be Merry”

We would agree that there are many people in the world today who believe in the attitudes expressed in 2 Nephi 28:7–8. President Joseph Fielding Smith, however, quoted those verses and said: “Do not think that this was said of the world. . . . It is said of members of the Church” (Seek Ye Earnestly . . . [1970], 143). Some Church members believe that they can sin now and repent later. They believe that living the gospel will take away from their enjoyment of life. By experience and by revelation, however, we can see and know that “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10) and that “no unclean thing can enter the kingdom of God” (1 Nephi 15:34).

Bishop Richard C. Edgley, a counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, said: “We cannot say we will sow a few wild oats in our youth or that we will just dabble a little around the fringes of sin. There are no fringes of sin. Every act, good or bad, has a consequence. Every good act improves our ability to do good and more firmly stand against sin or failure. Every transgression, regardless of how minor, makes us more susceptible to Satan’s influence the next time he tempts us. Satan takes us an inch at a time, deceiving us as to the consequences of so-called minor sins until he captures us in major transgressions. Nephi describes this technique as one of pacifying, lulling, and flattering us away until Satan ‘grasps [us] with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance’ (2 Nephi 28:22; see also v. 21)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 54; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 40).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study 2 Nephi 28.

Activity A Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—2 Nephi 28:7–9

  1. Write a modern phrase to express each of the false ideas in 2 Nephi 28:7–9 that Nephi said would be popular in our day (for example, the idea in verse 7 might be expressed as “Go for it while you can; you only live once”).

  2. For each phrase find at least three scriptures that explain why that attitude is “false and vain and foolish” doctrine (v. 9).

  3. Explain why you selected each scripture. You may want to write the references in the margin next to 2 Nephi 28:7–9 so that you can help strengthen others who may be tempted by these common but foolish philosophies.

Activity B iconIdentify Satan’s Methods

  1. Read 2 Nephi 28:19–23 and list different ways Satan tries to “grasp” people in his “everlasting chains.”

  2. For each item on your list, give an example of how he uses those methods on young people today.

Activity C iconThe Sad Ones

Wo is a word that refers to deep sadness and regret. List the attitudes and actions from 2 Nephi 28:15–16, 24–32 that Nephi said would bring “wo” to people.

2 Nephi 29
“A Bible! A Bible! We Have Got a Bible!”

Christ with Book of Mormon and Bible

Sometimes people who are not members of the Church argue that the Book of Mormon cannot be true because the Bible is the only book of scripture God gave to man. In 2 Nephi 29, Nephi prophesied of this false teaching and wrote diligently to those people who expressed that attitude. This chapter is a continuation of the ideas expressed at the end of 2 Nephi 28 about the Gentiles refusing more of the word of God and trusting in their own learning (see 2 Nephi 28:27–32).

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 29

Them (v. 1)—The Gentiles

Standard (v. 2)—Something set up by authority as a rule by which others are judged (the gospel)

Hiss (vv. 2–3)—A sound made to get attention; speak, call

Travails (v. 4)—Painful labors, hard work, adversities

Diligence (v. 4)—Steady effort, dedication

2 Nephi 29:12–14—“The Words of the Lost Tribes of Israel”

Elder Bruce R. McConkie suggested that the records spoken of in 2 Nephi 29:12–14 would “come forth in a marvelous manner, at the direction of the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who is a revelator and a translator and who holds the keys of the kingdom of God on earth as pertaining to all men, the Ten Tribes included” (The Millennial Messiah, 217). We know that the Savior visited some of the lost tribes of Israel after His Resurrection and after He visited the Nephites (see 3 Nephi 16:1–3; 17:4).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 2 Nephi 29.

Activity A iconAnswering Critics of the Book of Mormon

Anticipating the arguments of people in our day who say they already have a Bible and do not need any more scripture, Nephi gave seven principles those people should think about before dismissing the Book of Mormon as scripture. The following statements and questions refer to what Nephi wrote. Write them in your notebook, and then write what Nephi wrote in 2 Nephi 29:7–11 concerning each of them, along with the verse where the quotation is found. (The list is not in the order they are found in the chapter.)

  1. God works through two or three witnesses (see Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1). The Book of Mormon is a second witness that the teachings in the Bible are true (see Mormon 7:8–9).

  2. Why do you complain about having more scripture to help guide you?

  3. Do you think the Bible contains everything God has said or ever will say?

  4. Because God has spoken in the Bible, does that mean He cannot speak at any other time or place?

  5. The Bible is the record of God’s dealings with the Israelites in the Middle Eastern countries. He is, however, the God of the Israelites everywhere, and of all nations. He also gives His word to them.

  6. All nations to whom God speaks are commanded to write His words. We will be judged out of those things that are written (see Revelation 20:12–13).

  7. Another book of scripture containing additional testimonies of the gospel testifies that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

scriptures

2 Nephi 30
The Power of the Book of Mormon

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: “Few men on earth, either in or out of the Church, have caught the vision of what the Book of Mormon is all about. Few are they among men who know the part it has played and will yet play in preparing the way for the coming of Him of whom it is a new witness” (The Millennial Messiah, 159).

Nephi was one of those “few men” who understood the role of the Book of Mormon in the latter days. He wrote about the scattering of the Jews, the fall of his own people, and the wickedness of the Gentile nations in the latter days when many would reject the Book of Mormon as a second witness of Jesus Christ and His gospel. As you read 2 Nephi 30, look for what Nephi prophesied the Book of Mormon would do to bless all three of those groups of people before the Second Coming of Christ.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 30

Suffer (v. 1)—Allow, permit

Commence (v. 8)—Begin

Kindreds (v. 8)—Families

Judge (v. 9)—Bring justice to

Equity (v. 9)—Justice, fairness

Girdle of his loins, girdle of his reins (v. 11)—Both of these phrases refer to a belt or sash wrapped around a person’s waist (used symbolically here)

Sucking child (v. 14)—Nursing child

Asp, cockatrice (v. 14)—Poisonous serpents

2 Nephi 30:2—Who Are the Lord’s Covenant People?

Notice that 2 Nephi 30:2 states that all who have faith in Jesus Christ and repent are “covenant people of the Lord.” This is why Paul could say that “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel” (Romans 9:6). To be a member of the house of Israel, entitled to all of the blessings of the covenant family, requires more than ancestry. Those not born to the house of Israel become members of the covenant family through their faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and making covenants at baptism, which the Atonement of Jesus Christ makes possible.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study 2 Nephi 30.

Activity A iconWhat Do You Learn?

  1. Write the following three headings across the top of a page in your notebook: Jews, Descendants of Lehi, and Gentiles. Read 2 Nephi 30:1–7, and under each heading list all that you learn about that group. Put a star next to the statements on your list that have something to do with the Book of Mormon.

  2. In 2 Nephi 30:8–18, Nephi described two events, or time periods, for which the Book of Mormon helps us prepare. What are those time periods commonly called?

  3. lion and lamb

  4. For each of the two events identified above, list everything chapter 30 teaches you about it.

  5. What do you feel would be most anticipated about being worthy to live during the time period described in verses 12–18?

2 Nephi 31
The Doctrine of Christ

We have learned much from and about Nephi since the beginning of the Book of Mormon. Before he gave the plates to his brother Jacob and prepared to leave mortality, Nephi summarized important teachings about the gospel of Jesus Christ and left his testimony of the truthfulness of what he wrote.

In 2 Nephi 31:2, Nephi wrote that he wanted to give us a “few words . . . concerning the doctrine of Christ.” Then in verse 21 he testified that he had taught the true doctrine of Christ. Carefully study what is contained between verses 2 and 21 so that you can learn what the important elements of the doctrine of Christ are.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 31

Sufficeth me (v. 2)—Are enough for my purposes

Doctrine (vv. 2, 21)—Principles, truths

Wherein (v. 6)—In what ways

Witnesseth (v. 7)—Establishes the truth, gives evidence

Hypocrisy (v. 13)—Pretending to be what one is not

Deception (v. 13)—Dishonesty

Remission (v. 17)—Forgiveness

Merits (v. 19)—Goodness or excellence that entitles one to honor or reward

Steadfastness (v. 20)—Firmness of mind or purpose

2 Nephi 31:13–14—“The Tongue of Angels”

See 2 Nephi 32:2–3 to help you understand what it means to have “the tongue of angels.”

2 Nephi 31:21—The Oneness of the Godhead

Not fully understanding doctrines relating to the nature of God, people have misunderstood statements concerning the members of the Godhead being “one.” The Father and the Son both appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith (see Joseph Smith—History 1:17), and it was revealed to him that the members of the Godhead are separate, individual beings (see D&C 130:22). They are, however, “one” in the sense that the words and actions of any one of the members of the Godhead would be the words and actions of the other two (see 3 Nephi 11:32–36). They are perfectly united in purpose.

First Vision

Studying the Scriptures

Do at least two of the following four activities (A–D) as you study 2 Nephi 31.

Activity A iconSummarize Nephi’s Teachings

In one paragraph, summarize “the doctrine of Christ” found in 2 Nephi 31:3–20. Be sure to include every important principle.

Activity B iconWhy Baptism?

  1. Read 2 Nephi 31:5–9 and list the reasons Jesus was baptized.

  2. What should be added to the list if we were listing reasons we must be baptized? (see D&C 33:11; Articles of Faith 1:4).

Christ's baptism
© 1988 Greg K. Olsen

Activity C iconDraw

Make a drawing or diagram that represents what Nephi taught in 2 Nephi 31:17–20 about ways that we can obtain eternal life. Include all of the ideas and elements Nephi spoke of. Show it to a friend or family member and ask if its meaning is clear to them.

Activity D iconGive More Explanation

Sometimes a simple word or phrase in the scriptures can represent deep, important, powerful ideas. Consider the following words and phrases from 2 Nephi 31. Explain the significance and the message of each.

  1. “The straitness of the path” (v. 9)

  2. “Full purpose of heart” (v. 13)

  3. “The gate” (v. 17)

  4. “Feasting” (v. 20)

2 Nephi 32
Nephi Continues Teaching the Doctrine of Christ

The process of obtaining eternal life through Jesus Christ that Nephi wrote about in 2 Nephi 31 is beautiful, profound, and simple to explain. Is that really all we are to do?

Nephi sensed that some people still pondered what they should do after entering in “by the way” (2 Nephi 32:1). In 2 Nephi 32, Nephi explained how we are to continue.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 32

Ponder (vv. 1, 8)—Think deeply about

By the way (vv. 1, 5)—On the path that leads to eternal life (as explained in 2 Nephi 31)

Perceive (v. 8)—Sense, feel, observe

Consecrate (v. 9)—Set apart for a sacred purpose

2 Nephi 32:3—“The Words of Christ Will Tell You All Things What Ye Should Do”

Elder Boyd K. Packer taught: “If [you] are acquainted with the revelations, there is no question—personal or social or political or occupational—that need go unanswered. Therein is contained the fulness of the everlasting gospel. Therein we find principles of truth that will resolve every confusion and every problem and every dilemma that will face the human family or any individual in it” (“Teach the Scriptures,” in Charge to Religious Educators [3rd ed.], 89).

young man praying

2 Nephi 32:8–9—Prayer

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “We can make great strides in the direction of perfection in our personal behavior. We can be perfect in our prayers to our Father in Heaven. There are some things in which it is very difficult to be perfect, but I hope that everyone . . . will get on his or her knees night and morning and thank the Lord for His blessings, thank the Lord for His kindness, thank the Lord for every gift that He has given, and pray for strength to do the right thing and remember before the Lord all who are in need and distress. We can be perfect in our prayers, my brothers and sisters” (“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, July 1998, 2).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study 2 Nephi 32.

Activity A Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—2 Nephi 32:3

  1. According to 2 Nephi 32:1–3, what must we do after we have gotten on the path that leads to eternal life?

  2. How is that like what Lehi saw in his vision that would keep people on the path (see 1 Nephi 8)?

  3. Name three different ways the words of Christ can be received and feasted upon.

Activity B Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—2 Nephi 32:8–9

Imagine you have a friend who is struggling with his or her testimony and has made the following comments to you. Write each comment in your notebook and follow it with a phrase or sentence from 2 Nephi 32:8–9 that might help you know what to say to your friend.

  1. “I don’t pray very often.”

  2. “Sometimes I think I probably ought to pray, but then I don’t feel like it, so I don’t.”

  3. “Because I have had so few spiritual experiences, I think I will just stop praying.”

  4. “I’ve read some of the Book of Mormon, but it doesn’t seem to help me. What would help me get more out of it?”

2 Nephi 33
Nephi’s Final Testimony

The last words Nephi wrote in the Book of Mormon are found in 2 Nephi 33. In it he expressed his deep love and commitment to his people, as well as his powerful testimony of Jesus Christ. We also learn how he felt about what he wrote and what his writings should mean to those who read them. As you read, ponder on this special testimony from one of God’s chosen prophets. Look for when Nephi said you and he will meet again.

Understanding the Scriptures

2 Nephi 33

Esteem them as things of naught (v. 2)—Consider them worthless

Harshly (v. 5)—Roughly, with strong language and feeling

Charity (vv. 7–9)—The pure love of Christ (see Moroni 7:47)

Reconciled (v. 9)—To be brought back again into unity after being in disagreement

Day of probation (v. 9)—Time of testing and proving (meaning this earth life, mortality)

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you study 2 Nephi 33.

Activity A icon“Great Worth”

Book of Mormon

  1. Nephi wrote that the teachings in the Book of Mormon are of “great worth” (2 Nephi 33:3). Read verses 4–5 and list four ways that the Book of Mormon can be a blessing to us.

  2. Write about how the Book of Mormon has affected you in one of those ways, or explain which of those four ways has been the most important to you in your study of the Book of Mormon so far.

Activity B iconMission Preparation

Speaking in a priesthood meeting of general conference, President Ezra Taft Benson said that the Book of Mormon “will be the most important book you will read in preparation for a mission and for life. A young man who knows and loves the Book of Mormon, who has read it several times, who has an abiding testimony of its truthfulness, and who applies its teachings will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and will be a mighty tool in the hands of the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 56; or Ensign, May 1986, 43). Choose two things that missionaries should know, do, or use from 2 Nephi 33 to help them be more effective missionaries. Explain each as if you were talking to a missionary on his or her way to the mission field.