Nephi foresaw Jesus Christ’s visit to the Americas and the destruction that would later come upon his people. Nephi also foresaw those living in the last days and warned them against pride, secret combinations, and priestcrafts. To illustrate how the Lord would provide a way for us to overcome the effects of wickedness and apostasy, Nephi included Isaiah’s prophecies about the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the latter days.
Have you ever been in an earthquake, severe lightning storm, or other devastating event or seen photos or videos of them? Nephi saw that in the latter days the inhabitants of the earth “shall be visited with thunderings, and lightnings, and earthquakes, and all manner of destructions” (2 Nephi 26:6). What comes to your mind when you read about “the anger of the Lord” (2 Nephi 26:6) or “the judgments of God” (2 Nephi 25:3)? God’s judgments are intended to bless His children—to bring the wicked to repentance and to protect the righteous. In 2 Nephi 26:1–11, Nephi prophesied of destructions that would precede Jesus Christ’s visit to the Americas and of the eventual destruction of his people because of their wickedness. Read 2 Nephi 26:8–9, and look for blessings that Nephi said would come to his righteous descendants. Then read 2 Nephi 26:12–13, and look for what is promised to us as we exercise faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ manifests Himself to those who exercise faith in Him and endure in righteousness. Record your answers to the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How does Jesus Christ manifest Himself to those who exercise faith in Him? (See 2 Nephi 26:13.)
How have you witnessed or experienced some of these manifestations of Jesus Christ?
In 2 Nephi 26:14–19, Nephi prophesied that in the latter days, after his people and the seed of his brothers are weakened by unbelief, the Book of Mormon would come forth. In 2 Nephi 26:20–22, he described how many people in the latter days will be full of pride, reject the miracles of God, and rely on their own wisdom and learning. In what ways have you seen examples of Nephi’s prophecy being fulfilled?
Nephi warned us that the devil uses pride, greed, and secret works to ruin or destroy us. In your scriptures by 2 Nephi 26:22, mark how Satan seeks to bind us. A flaxen cord is a thin linen thread that can easily be broken. However, when multiple threads are woven together they become a strong cord. Read 2 Nephi 26:32, and notice the examples of “works of darkness” that the Lord commands us to avoid. Ponder how a single strand of thread can become the “strong cords” in 2 Nephi 26:32.
Imagine you are teaching a friend how to avoid the traps of the devil (Satan). Using 2 Nephi 26:20–22, 32, write a paragraph in your scripture study journal that explains the process by which the devil seeks to bind us. Specifically notice in 2 Nephi 26:22 how the adversary uses flaxen cords until his victim is bound with stronger cords, and give an example.
Nephi saw the destruction caused by the adversary and warned of Satan’s traps and influences in the last days. In contrast to Satan’s works of darkness, Nephi taught that God’s love is extended to all and that His purpose is to save as many as will come unto Him. Read 2 Nephi 26:23–24, and highlight words and phrases that describe how God works with His children. According to 2 Nephi 26:24, what is God’s purpose in everything He does? You may want to highlight the phrase that teaches this doctrine: Everything the Lord does is for the benefit of the world.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How does understanding that everything the Lord does is for the benefit of the world help you increase your faith in our Heavenly Father and give you peace and assurance in this life?
Skim through 2 Nephi 26:25–28, 33, and mark each time the words all, any, and none appear. Then go back and reread these verses, paying special attention to these words and how Nephi taught that the Lord loves all people and invites all to come unto Him and partake of His salvation. Ponder how this principle affects the way you view commandments, standards, and other people.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How do you know (or why do you believe) that the Book of Mormon is the word of God?
The Lord revealed to the prophet Isaiah details concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, which Nephi recorded in 2 Nephi 27. After Isaiah prophesied that in the last days many people would be full of iniquity and reject the prophets, he taught that God would reveal a book of ancient writings (see 2 Nephi 27:1–7). Read 2 Nephi 27:12–14, and look for what it teaches the Lord would do to establish the truth of the book that would come forth in the last days.
One way the Lord established the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon was to allow other individuals to be witnesses of the gold plates. Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris were selected as the Three Witnesses and are referred to in 2 Nephi 27:12. (See “The Testimony of Three Witnesses” at the front of the Book of Mormon.)
The “few” referred to in 2 Nephi 27:13 included the Eight Witnesses (see “The Testimony of Eight Witnesses” at the front of the Book of Mormon). Consider marking the phrase “as many witnesses as seemeth him good” in 2 Nephi 27:14. As you receive and share your testimony of the Book of Mormon, you also become a witness of the truthfulness of this book. You might want to write your name by 2 Nephi 27:14 as one of these additional witnesses of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said of his own witness of the Book of Mormon:
“I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work—and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, our times—until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies. …
“I ask that my testimony of the Book of Mormon and all that it implies, given today under my own oath and office, be recorded by men on earth and angels in heaven. … I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the travail of the latter days” (“Safety for the Soul,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 89–90).
Reflect on what you can do to strengthen your conviction of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
In your scripture study journal, write down what you will do this year to strengthen your witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
To complete the following activity, you will need to refer to Joseph Smith—History, which is in the Pearl of Great Price. Read Joseph Smith—History 1:63–65, and identify the individuals in the account. Then read the assigned passages from 2 Nephi 27 in the chart below, and match a name to each set of verses.
The word characters in Joseph Smith—History 1:63–65 refers to the reformed Egyptian characters Joseph Smith had copied and translated from the gold plates that Martin Harris presented to Professor Charles Anthon. Charles Anthon was an instructor at Columbia College and a man who had a reputation for knowing ancient languages. After stating and certifying in writing that Joseph Smith’s translation of the characters was correct, Professor Anthon tore up his endorsement of the translation when he was told of the miraculous way the plates had been obtained. He offered to translate the record himself. When Martin Harris explained that some of the plates were sealed, Professor Anthon said he could not read a sealed book. According to 2 Nephi 27:16, what do we learn about Charles Anthon’s motive for wanting to translate the plates?
Read 2 Nephi 27:20–23, and mark the phrase that is repeated in verses 20 and 21.
You may want to write the following truth in your scriptures: The coming forth of the Book of Mormon is one of the ways God will accomplish His work in the latter days.
Respond to the following question in your scripture study journal: How does the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy about the Book of Mormon strengthen your testimony of the book and its role in the Restoration of the Lord’s Church?
God chose a young man named Joseph Smith to be the prophet of the Restoration and bring about His marvelous work in the last days. The “marvelous work” referred to in the scriptures is the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Read 2 Nephi 27:25–26, mark the phrase “marvelous work and a wonder,” and identify some of the conditions that would exist when the Lord began this marvelous work. Ponder how the Book of Mormon and the Restoration have helped you avoid those conditions.
Read 2 Nephi 27:29–30, 34–35, and mark the blessings that come because of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and Restoration of the gospel. The Book of Mormon and the restored gospel will bring joy and understanding to those who study and accept them.
Record your answer to the following question in your scripture study journal: How has the Restoration of the gospel, which includes the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, been a “marvelous work” in your life?
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 Nephi 26–27 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: