What’s going on in these chapters?
Lehi’s Instructions to his sons:
- 2 Ne 1 – Lehi speaks to Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Zoram
- 2 Ne 2 – Lehi speaks to Jacob
2 Nephi 1 (Lehi Instructs Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Zoram)
6 – “none shall come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord”
Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet: It would be hard to suppose that this statement applies to each individual that has come from the Old World to the New. It apparently refers to groups, not individuals. We know that the Jaredites, the Nephites, and the Mulekites were all brought to this land by the hand of the Lord, notwithstanding the fact that some of their number were unworthy of an inheritance in this promised land. More recent history affords Pilgrims and Puritans as illustrations. Of such the Lord approved in the collective sense but certainly not in the individual sense in all cases. The context of this phrase seems to sustain that conclusion. The preceding verse speaks of those led out of other countries “by the hand of the Lord.” The verse that follows states that the land was consecrated to those the Lord would bring. This does not appear to be inclusive; rather it suggests a selection or choosing on the Lord’s part as to those who will be his covenant people. (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987-1992], 1: 184.)
13, 14, 23 – Notice the word “awake.” Here’s an excerpt from Sermons in a Sentence:
John Bytheway: We have a tendency to snooze when we should be awake. The scriptures are a wakeup call from God. Lehi told his sons to “awake” and “put on the armor of righteousness” (2 Nephi 1:23). King Benjamin pled with his people to “awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen into transgression” (Mosiah 2:40). Alma invited the Zoramites to “awake and arouse [their] faculties”(Alma 32:27) as he taught them how to plant Christ in their hearts. When God’s children are sinning or simply not living up to their spiritual potential, prophets are sent to shake them into spiritual consciousness. Modern alarm clocks are equipped with a “snooze button,” a built-in procrastination device that allows postponing the inevitable. The scriptures address “spiritual snoozing,” a dangerous postponing of becoming fully awake until it is “everlastingly too late” (Helaman 13:38). President Ezra Taft Benson warned, “We must be shakened and awakened from a spiritual snooze.”(The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , 404), (John Bytheway, Sermons in a Sentence, 18-19).
13 – “Awake from a deep sleep”
President Ezra Taft Benson: The Lord has on the earth some potential spiritual giants whom He saved for some six thousand years to help bear off the kingdom triumphantly and the devil is trying to put them to sleep. The devil knows that he probably won’t be too successful in getting them to commit many great and malignant sins of commission. So he puts them into a deep sleep, like Gulliver, while he strands them with little sins of omission. And what good is a sleepy, neutralized, lukewarm giant as a leader? We have too many potential spiritual giants who should be more vigorously lifting their homes, the kingdom, and the country. We have many who feel they are good men, but they need to be good for something—stronger patriarchs, courageous missionaries, valiant genealogists and temple workers, dedicated patriots, devoted quorum members. In short, we must be shakened and awakened from a spiritual snooze. – President Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.403-404.
President Ezra Taft Benson: Every generation has its tests and its chance to stand and prove itself. Would you like to know of one of our toughest tests? Hear the warning words of President Brigham Young: “The worst fear I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and His people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty and all manner of persecution and be true. But my greatest fear is that they cannot stand wealth.” Ours then seems to be the toughest test of all for the evils are more subtle, more clever. It all seems less menacing and it is harder to detect. While every test of righteousness represents a struggle, this particular test seems like no test at all, no struggle, and so could be the most deceiving of all tests. Do you know what peace and prosperity can do to a people—it can put them to sleep. – President Ezra Taft Benson, “Our Obligation and Challenge.” Address given at Regional Representative Seminar, 30 Sep 1977.
21-25 – “Arise from the dust, my sons, and be men”
Brother S. Michael Wilcox:
- Real men shake off the dust of Babylon (21)
- Real men are awake, aware, involved (23)
- Real men wear armor, and accept protecting counsel from God (23)
- Real men shake off chains that bind them (23)
- Real men are not afraid to stand apart, to model goodness (23)
- Real men don’t rebel against truth (24)
- Real men don’t seek for power, but for God’s glory (25) (S. Michael Wilcox, Book of Mormon Gospel Study Companion, 2 DVD set.)
2 Nephi 2 (Lehi’s instructions to Jacob)
1 – To Jacob—Lehi mentions the “rudeness” of Jacobs brothers: (see also 1 Nephi 18:9 which mentions “rudeness” twice).
2 – “He shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain”
Orson F. Whitney: No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God. . . .(Orson F. Whitney, as cited in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 98).
3 – Jacob was redeemed because of the righteousness of his redeemer, not because of his own righteousness. We will visit this topic again when we cover 2 Nephi 25:23.
4 – Jacob saw his redeemer, 2 Ne 11:3.
11 – It’s understandable that Lehi would single out Jacob to teach about opposition in all things. Jacob had never seen Jerusalem; he was born in the wilderness. He saw considerable contention in his own family. At the end of Jacob’s record, we don’t hear anything like “we lived happily ever after.” Instead, Jacob laments, “our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days” (Jacob 7:26).
13,14 – “Act or be acted upon” We might say that things with agency act, and things without agency are “‘acted upon.” Sometimes we forget we have the power to choose, and we act as if we are “acted upon.” For example, “he makes me mad,” or “I’m a morning person?” or “rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” As we have all heard hundreds of times, we are not free to choose our circumstances, but we are free to choose how we react to our circumstances.
Here’s an Elder David A. Bednar video about “acting” or being “acted upon:” Things to Act and Things to Be Acted Upon
22-23 – These verses offer a wonderful summary of the conditions before the fall and the effects after the fall. In many ways, the Bible tells us what happened in the Garden of Eden, and the Book of Mormon tells us why it happened. Many in the Christian world hold a less than positive opinion of Adam and Eve. Dr. Robert L. Millet, former dean of Religious Education at BYU reported:
Robert L. Millet: I was driving across the country, listening to the car radio as I traveled. I especially enjoy listening to religious channels and networks to better understand the perspective of our Protestant and Catholic friends. On one channel the host of a rather popular program was taking calls from the listening audience, soliciting religious questions. One caller asked, “Reverend, why did Adam and Eve take the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” The minister’s answer was simple. “I don’t know,” he said. “That’s the dumbest thing anyone could have done! Why, if Adam and Eve had not been so selfish, so power-hungry, we might all have been in paradise today!” The answer at the time caused me to chuckle. I have since thought again and again about his answer and looked more soberly and sympathetically upon a Christian world which desperately needs what we as Latter- day Saints have to offer (Adam: A Latter-day Saint Perspective, 190 ).
23 – This verse reveals that there was no procreation before the Fall. Had Adam and Eve not fallen, they would have had no children. See also Moses 5:11, “And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.”
President Joseph Fielding Smith: One of these days, if I ever get to where I can speak to Mother Eve, I want to thank her for tempting Adam to partake of the fruit. He accepted the temptation, with the result that children came into this world. And when I kneel in prayer, I feel to thank Mother Eve, for if she hadn’t had that influence over Adam, and if Adam had done according to the commandment first given to him, they would still be in the Garden of Eden and we would not be here at all. We wouldn’t have come into this world. So the commentators made a great mistake when they put in the Bible at the top of page 3, as I think it is (it may not be the same page in every Bible), the statement “Man’s shameful fall…. Brethren and sisters, let’s thank the Lord, when we pray, for Adam. If it hadn’t been for Adam, I wouldn’t be here; you wouldn’t be here; we would be waiting in the heavens as spirits pleading for somebody to do what the scriptures say – a “shameful thing,” which it wasn’t – or to pass through a certain condition that brought upon us mortality. – Joseph Fielding Smith, Improvement Era, November 1967, pp. 43-44.
24 – A good verse to remember when you wonder why God did things the way he did them.
25 – Thus, we often call the fall a “fortunate fall.” It was a fall downward, yes, but a fall forward.
27 – Some have called Moses 1:39 “God’s Mission Statement.” We might say that Satan’s mission statement is the last phrase in 2 Nephi 2:27.
Elder M. Russell Ballard: It takes faith – real faith, unequivocal and unreserved – to accept and attempt to live prophetic counsel even when it’s not completely understood. Such profound and basic faith has the power to guide us safely through every challenge we may face in life. Of course, Satan doesn’t want us to feel or exhibit that kind of faith, and so he makes us feel uncomfortable with obedience. He plants defiance in our hearts with justification and rationalization, subtly convincing us that it is possible to live the spirit of the law even if we are in violation of its letter. Eventually he can make it seem wrong – or at least politically incorrect – to obey, branding it with derogatory labels like “blind faith.” But we must never forget this about Satan: he is a liar. He is the father of lies, and has been from the beginning. He was cast out of Heavenly Father’s presence because of his disobedience, and now he has one goal, one eternal commitment that has never changed from the time of the War in Heaven until the present day. His sole purpose is to make you and me as miserable as he is, and the best way for him to accomplish that is to entice us into disobedience. – M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, December 1996, p. 59.
28-29 – Let’s see, should I choose eternal death for eternal life? Seems like quite the no-brainer, doesn’t it? Prophets have a way of cutting through the fog and making things clear and concise.
Love these so much! Can’t wait for the next one! As a teacher myself, I know I follow the manual and get revelation for my own class. Still, these give so many insights and helps. Thank you for your time and knowledge!
I love this!!! Could you do all of the gospel doctrine lessons? I’m just sayin’…
Just a heads up…
Your reference for the sleeping giant quote by Ezra Taft Benson is incorrect, unless I just couldn’t find it. I only know because I used it in my lesson and a class member asked where it was and then I couldn’t find it in the Ezra Taft Benson book.
I found it here though…
Thanks for the ideas!