Lesson 15: 1 Nephi 14

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2012


Introduction

1 Nephi 14 concludes the account of Nephi’s vision. In this part of the vision, Nephi was told of the blessings promised to those who repent and hearken unto the Lord, and the cursings that will come upon the wicked who harden their hearts against the Lord. Nephi was also shown that the Lord would help and protect those who live righteously and keep their covenants and that He would destroy the great and abominable church of the devil.

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Nephi 14:1–7

Nephi sees the consequences for future generations of obeying or disobeying the Lord

Invite students to open their scriptures to 1 Nephi 14. Explain that today they will continue studying Nephi’s vision. Ask students to ponder how they would complete the following sentences:

  • If I follow the Lord, then …

  • If I refuse to follow the Lord, then …

Once students have shared their answers, point out that the word if suggests choice. Depending on what we choose, we experience different outcomes. Explain that Nephi saw future generations and noted that if they would be righteous, they would be blessed; or if they would choose wickedness, they would be cursed. Invite the class to consider throughout the lesson how choosing to be obedient to the Lord has brought them blessings.

Draw the following diagram on the board:

if, then diagram

Have a student read 1 Nephi 14:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to identify (1) the choice Nephi indicated the Gentiles could make, and (2) the blessings Nephi saw would come to the Gentiles if they made that choice. As students share what they find, fill in the blanks on the board so it looks something like the following:

if, then diagram 2

You may need to explain that in the scriptures, the phrase “stumbling blocks” (1 Nephi 14:1) often refers to obstacles that keep people from following the Lord. To be “numbered among the house of Israel” (1 Nephi 14:2) means to be counted among the Lord’s covenant people.

  • Why is it important to be among the Lord’s covenant people? (To receive the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant [see D&C 132:30–31].)

  • What does it mean to “hearken unto the Lamb of God”?

  • Of the rewards for obedience listed on the board, which are most meaningful to you? Why?

  • When have you hearkened unto the Lord and seen His blessings in your life? (Remind students that they do not need to share experiences that are too personal or private.)

On another part of the board draw the following diagram:

if, then diagram 3

Have a student read 1 Nephi 14:5–7 aloud. Ask the class to look for (1) blessings that come to those who repent and (2) negative consequences that come to those who harden their hearts. Complete the diagram, as you did in the previous exercise. (If people repent, “it shall be well with them” [1 Nephi 14:5] and they shall receive “peace and life eternal” [1 Nephi 14:7]. If people harden their hearts, they will “perish” [1 Nephi 14:5] and be “brought down into captivity” and “destruction” [1 Nephi 14:7].)

As students respond, you may need to explain that the “great and marvelous work” mentioned in 1 Nephi 14:7 refers to the restoration of the priesthood, the gospel, and the Lord’s Church in the latter days.

  • How is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “great and marvelous” to you? How does it bring you peace? How does it bring you hope for eternal life?

Consider giving students time to silently ponder which path illustrated on the board they are currently pursuing. Testify that obeying the Lord and repenting of our sins leads to great blessings. You might also testify that hardening our hearts against the Lord and His Church leads to spiritual captivity and destruction.

1 Nephi 14:8–17

Nephi sees the battle between the Church of the Lamb of God and the great and abominable church

Invite students to imagine they have just been enlisted to fight in a war.

  • What would you do to prepare for battle?

Explain that the angel taught Nephi about a great battle that would take place in the latter days.

Invite three students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 14:9–11. Ask the rest of the class to identify the two groups in conflict. (You may want to remind students that the great and abominable church signifies any individual or group that leads people away from God and His laws.)

  • What words and phrases are used to describe the “great and abominable church”?

  • According to Nephi’s vision, where will the “great and abominable church” be found in the last days?

Ask three more students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 14:12–14. Invite the class to look for reasons why we can have hope about the future.

  • According to 1 Nephi 14:12, which church will have more people?

  • Why will the Church of the Lamb have fewer people than the great and abominable church?

  • According to 1 Nephi 14:13, for what purpose will the great and abominable church gather together multitudes?

Testify that we are engaged in the war Nephi describes—a latter-day spiritual battle against evil. As members of the Church of the Lamb, we are outnumbered, and we need help if we are to be victorious against the forces of the devil.

Emphasize that the promises given in these scriptures specifically apply to those who make and keep covenants with the Lord. Remind students that they have entered into a baptismal covenant with the Lord. Draw students’ attention to the phrase “armed with righteousness and with the power of God” in 1 Nephi 14:14.

  • What does the phrase “armed with righteousness and with the power of God” mean to you?

  • In what ways can being “armed with righteousness and with the power of God” be like having armor and weapons in our battle against evil?

  • When have you felt that you were “armed with righteousness and with the power of God”? How did you feel?

Ask students how they would summarize the message in 1 Nephi 14:1–14. Ensure they understand that if we live righteously and keep our covenants, the power of God will help us triumph over evil.

Invite students to evaluate their lives and consider what they might do to be better armed with righteousness. Urge them to act on any promptings they receive. Assure them that as they remain faithful, they will have the opportunity to enter into sacred temples and make additional covenants with the Lord. The promises and covenants they make there will bring great power and protection into their lives.

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 14:3–4 aloud. Ask another student to read 1 Nephi 14:15–17 aloud.

  • What will happen to the great and abominable Church?

  • What will be the final outcome of the battle between the Church of the Lamb (the kingdom of God) and the forces of the devil?

  • How can knowing the result of this struggle help you?

Read to the class the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“We [members of the Church] are a tiny fraction when compared to the billions of people on earth. But we are who we are, and we know what we know, and we are to go forth and preach the gospel.

President Boyd K. Packer

“The Book of Mormon makes it clear that we never will dominate by numbers. But we have the power of the priesthood [see 1 Nephi 14:14]. …

“We can and in due time certainly will influence all of humanity. It will be known who we are and why we are. It might seem hopeless; it is monumentally difficult; but it is not only possible but certain that we will win the battle against Satan” (“The Power of the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 7).

Assure students that God’s kingdom will triumph in the last days. Express confidence that they can trust in God and that His power will overcome all evil. Encourage them to be a force for good in influencing others.

1 Nephi 14:18–27

Nephi sees John the Revelator

Write the following questions on the board:

Which of the Savior’s Twelve Apostles did Nephi see in vision?

What would this Apostle write about?

Why was Nephi commanded not to write the rest of his vision?

Invite students to read 1 Nephi 14:18–27 silently. Then briefly discuss answers to the questions on the board.

Explain that these verses refer at least in part to John’s writings in the book of Revelation. A major theme of that book is that God will triumph over the forces of the devil. Like John, Nephi also saw a vision of the end of the world, but he was commanded not to record it because John had been given the responsibility to do so. Time permitting, you might conclude the lesson with a brief discussion about how the Bible and the Book of Mormon work together to “establish the truth” of each other and be “one” (1 Nephi 13:40–41).

Commentary and Background Information

1 Nephi 14:7. “A great and a marvelous work”

The scriptures describe the Restoration of the gospel and the organization of the Church as “a great and a marvelous work” (1 Nephi 14:7; 3 Nephi 21:9). In this context, the word great means significant and meaningful, while marvelous means wonderful and awe-inspiring. Work speaks of an act or accomplishment.

1 Nephi 14:14. “Armed with righteousness and with the power of God”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how we can be “armed with righteousness and with the power of God” (1 Nephi 14:14):

“So let us look at ourselves. For the Church, the scriptures suggest both an accelerated sifting and accelerated spiritual and numerical growth—with all this preceding the time when the people of God will be ‘armed with righteousness’—not weapons—and when the Lord’s glory will be poured out upon them (1 Nephi 14:14; see also 1 Peter 4:17; D&C 112:25). The Lord is determined to have a tried, pure, and proven people (see D&C 100:16; 101:4; 136:31), and ‘there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it’ (Abraham 3:17)” (“For I Will Lead You Along,” Ensign, May 1988, 8).

“Church members have a special rendezvous to keep, brothers and sisters. Nephi saw it. One future day, he said, Jesus’ covenant people, ‘scattered upon all the face of the earth,’ will be ‘armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.’ (1 Ne. 14:14.) This will happen, but only after more members become more saintly and more consecrated in conduct” (“Repentance,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 32).

Supplemental Teaching Ideas

A Review of 1 Nephi 11–14

Summarize the content of 1 Nephi 11–14 by displaying the following chart:

1 Nephi 11

1 Nephi 12

1 Nephi 13

1 Nephi 14

Christ in the old world

Christ in the new world

The Apostasy

The Restoration

Inform students that 1 Nephi 14 is the end of Nephi’s account of his vision. (It began in 1 Nephi 11.) Explain that this vision is one example that demonstrates that Nephi was a seer. According to the Guide to the Scriptures, a seer is “a person authorized of God to see with spiritual eyes things which God has hidden from the world.” A seer is also a prophet and a revelator. He can know the past, present, and future.

Invite students to review Nephi’s vision by doing the following exercise. Write the scripture references listed below on the board. Also display the descriptions, but in random order, making sure the scripture references are not listed next to their correct descriptions. Have students work together in small groups to match the verses to the correct descriptions. (You could also prepare this activity as a handout for each student.)

1 Nephi 11:14–20

Nephi saw Mary and the infant Jesus.

1 Nephi 11:31

Nephi saw the Savior heal the sick and afflicted.

1 Nephi 11:32–33

Nephi saw the Savior die on the cross.

1 Nephi 12:6

Nephi saw the Savior visit the descendants of Lehi.

1 Nephi 12:19–20

Nephi saw that his descendants were destroyed because they were proud and they gave in to temptation.

1 Nephi 13:4–9

Nephi saw the great and abominable church.

1 Nephi 13:12–19

Nephi saw Columbus, the Pilgrims, and the Revolutionary War.

1 Nephi 13:20–41

Nephi saw the Bible and the Book of Mormon and other scriptures of the Restoration.

1 Nephi 14

Nephi saw the kingdom of God triumph over the forces of the devil in the last days.

As you review these events in order, ask students to imagine what it might have been like for Nephi to see them in vision.

  • How does knowing that Nephi was a seer affect your attitude toward studying and applying his teachings?

Testify that like Nephi’s people, we have prophets, seers, and revelators to help guide us through the challenges of our day. God reveals to them what they need to know in order to guide us back to Him.

  • How does knowing that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are seers affect your attitude toward studying and applying their teachings?

Remind students that we are part of a battle between the kingdom of God and the forces of the devil, but they have no need to fear. Encourage them to trust in the power of God, to live righteously, to follow the prophet, and to make and keep sacred covenants so they will be qualified for the Lord’s help in these difficult times. Testify that they can succeed.