Lesson 32: 2 Nephi 12–15

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

Nephi continued to quote the words of Isaiah, who spoke of the blessings of the temple and condemned the wickedness of the people of his day as well as the wickedness of many people in the last days. Isaiah also taught how we can receive or lose the Lord’s protection.

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Nephi 12:1–4

Isaiah prophesies of temples being established in the last days

Prior to class, write the following statements on the board: I want to be a better student. I want to be a better musician. I want to be a better athlete.

Invite a student to read aloud the statements on the board. Ask the class:

  • Where would you go for help if you had these desires?

Add the following statement to the board: I want to be a better disciple of the Lord.

  • Where could someone go for help if they wanted to become a better disciple of the Lord?

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 12:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for where we can go to learn how to become better disciples of the Lord. (Before the student reads, explain that in 2 Nephi 12, Nephi continued to record Isaiah’s writings.)

  • What do you think the phrase “mountain of the Lord” (verse 3) refers to? (It has specific reference to the Salt Lake Temple, but it can also refer to other temples the Lord has established in the last days.)

Copy the accompanying drawing of a mountain and a temple on the board:

temple in front of mountain
  • What are some similarities between a mountain and a temple? (Possible answers may include that both are noble and majestic and that both inspire us to look heavenward.)

  • According to verse 3, what principle can we learn about the blessings that come from worshipping in the temple (such as when we participate in temple ordinances)? (Help students identify the following principle: As we worship in the temple, the Lord will teach us of His ways and help us walk in His paths.)

  • How do temples teach us the Lord’s ways and help us to walk in His paths?

  • When has worshipping in the temple helped you learn of the Lord’s ways and walk in His paths? (You may want to consider sharing an experience as well.)

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Sister Elaine S. Dalton, former Young Women General President:

Elaine S. Dalton

“Prepare now for the temple, the mountain of the Lord. Never allow the goal of the temple to be out of your sight. Walk into His presence in purity and virtue, and receive His blessings—even ‘all that he hath’ (Luke 12:44). Within His holy house you will be cleansed, taught, and endowed with power, and His ‘angels [will] have charge over [you]’ (D&C 109:22)” (Elaine S. Dalton, “Come Let Us Go Up to the Mountain of the Lord,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 122–23).

Share your testimony of the principle students identified in 2 Nephi 12:3. Invite students to attend the temple as often as their circumstances permit and to prepare themselves to make further covenants with the Lord in the temple as they receive the endowment and marriage sealing ordinances.

Summarize 2 Nephi 12:4 by explaining that Isaiah prophesied of the millennial peace that people will enjoy as they walk in the Lord’s ways.

2 Nephi 12:5–22; 13–15

Isaiah distinguishes wicked Israel from righteous Israel

Invite a student to come to the front of the class. Give that student a single sheet of paper, and ask him or her to hide behind it.

  • What is the problem with trying to hide behind this sheet of paper?

As students study 2 Nephi 12–13 today, invite them to look for what Isaiah said the Israelites would try to hide and the reason they would not be able do so.

handout iconBefore class, copy the following chart on the board or prepare it as a handout. Leave enough space for students to write in each column.

Isaiah Describes Sins and Their Consequences

 

2 Nephi 12:5–12, 17–19; 13:5, 8

2 Nephi 13:16–26

What attitudes and practices reflect the sins of these people?

  

What will happen to these people as a consequence of their sins?

  

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Divide the class in half. Ask half of the students to study 2 Nephi 12:5–12, 17–19; 13:5, 8. Ask the other half to study 2 Nephi 13:16–26. Invite students to read their assigned verses and identify answers to the two questions in the left column of the chart. If the chart is displayed on the board, invite a student from each group to write their answers in the appropriate column. If the chart was distributed as a handout, have students record their answers on their handouts.

Explain to the students assigned to study 2 Nephi 13:16–26 that Isaiah foresaw the consequences for the extravagant dress and actions of worldly women in his own day and in the future. This passage describes what he saw. Although Isaiah specifically addressed “the daughters of Zion” (verse 16), his words also apply to men.

After students have had time to answer the questions in the chart, ask:

  • What sins had these people committed? (Answers may include pride, idolatry, worldliness, and vanity.)

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 13:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for one way the sins of the people were evident. If necessary, draw students’ attention to the phrase “the show of their countenance doth witness against them.”

  • What does the word countenance refer to? (It refers to a person’s appearance, particularly the face.)

  • How can a person’s countenance witness against them?

  • What truth can we learn from verse 9 about trying to hide our sins from the Lord? (Help students identify the following truth: We cannot hide our sins from the Lord. Write this truth on the board.)

To help students understand this truth, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Spencer V. Jones of the Seventy:

Elder Spencer V. Jones

“At times, consequences of sin may appear to be very subtle to the sinner. We may even convince ourselves … that no one will be able to detect our sins and that they are well concealed. But always to our Heavenly Father and often to spiritually sensitive leaders, parents, and friends, our sins are glaringly apparent.

“While attending a youth fireside with Elder Richard G. Scott, I noticed five youths scattered among the congregation whose countenances or body language almost screamed that something was spiritually amiss in their lives. After the meeting, when I mentioned the five youths to Elder Scott, he simply replied, ‘There were eight’” (Spencer V. Jones, “Overcoming the Stench of Sin,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2003, 88).

  • How can understanding that we cannot hide our sins from the Lord help us make better choices?

To prepare students to study Isaiah’s teachings in 2 Nephi 14, write Storms on the board.

  • When have you been caught in a bad or violent storm?

  • How did you seek shelter? How effective was the shelter at protecting you from the storm?

Point out that the word storms can be used to represent times of intense concern, problems, or temptation in our lives. Ask students to consider times when they may have experienced these types of storms.

Summarize 2 Nephi 14 by explaining that Isaiah foresaw the Lord’s cleansing and redemption of His people in the millennial day and that the Lord would offer protection from the storms of life.

Ask students to read 2 Nephi 14:5–6 silently, looking for places Isaiah mentioned that would provide spiritual protection. Invite students to report what they find. Make sure students locate and understand the words dwelling-place (house or home), assemblies (places of congregation, such as branches, wards, or stakes) and tabernacle (temple). Explain that the “cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night” (verse 5) refer to the protection and guidance that Moses and his people received from the Lord in the wilderness (see Exodus 13:21–22). Also point out that Isaiah likened the temple to a protective shelter from the heat and a “covert,” or shelter, from storms and rain.

  1. Based on verses 5–6, how would you summarize as a statement of truth what the Lord has established to provide spiritual protection? (Students should identify a truth similar to the following: The Lord has established the home, Church congregations, and temples as places of spiritual protection and refuge.)

  • What can we do to make our homes and branches or wards places of spiritual safety and protection?

  • When have you felt the Lord’s protection or guidance in your home or at church?

  • When have you found spiritual relief or protection in the temple?

Explain that in 2 Nephi 15, we read that Isaiah prophesied of the wickedness of his day and how it would lead to a loss of the Lord’s protection. In verses 1–7, we read that Isaiah compared the house of Israel to a vineyard.

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 15:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the man (representing the Lord) did for the vineyard and what the vineyard produced.

  • What did the man do for the vineyard?

  • What did the vineyard produce in spite of the man’s efforts?

  • How might this represent the house of Israel at the time of Isaiah? (You may need to explain that the wild grapes symbolize apostasy, signifying that Israel had turned away from the Lord.)

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 15:5–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord would do to His vineyard.

  • What would the Lord do to His vineyard?

  • What would be the effects of taking away the hedge, breaking down the wall, and the vineyard not being worked or watered?

  • How might these results represent the consequences that come to those who disobey the Lord’s commandments? (You may want to point out that at times the Lord allowed the Israelites to be scattered or destroyed because of their wickedness.)

  • What truth can we learn from these verses about what can cause us to lose the Lord’s protection? (Help students identify the following principle: If we are prideful and turn away from the Lord, we will lose His protection. Write this principle on the board.)

Summarize 2 Nephi 15:8–30 by explaining that Isaiah described some of the prideful attitudes and behaviors rebellious Israel would exhibit. For example, they would “call evil good, and good evil” (verse 20). In addition, Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would “lift up an ensign to the nations” (verse 26). An ensign is a flag or banner that is used as a rallying point or as a signal to assemble, especially in battle. This prophecy refers to how nations would gather against the Israelites in Isaiah’s day, and it also foreshadows the latter-day Restoration of the gospel and gathering of Israel.

Testify of the truths students identified in this lesson, and invite the students to apply these truths in their lives.

Commentary and Background Information

2 Nephi 12:2–5. “The mountain of the Lord’s house”

President Thomas S. Monson encouraged all Church members to be worthy of a temple recommend and go to the temple to receive the blessings available there:

President Thomas S. Monson

“If you have not yet been to the temple or if you have been but currently do not qualify for a recommend, there is no more important goal for you to work toward than being worthy to go to the temple. Your sacrifice may be bringing your life into compliance with what is required to receive a recommend, perhaps by forsaking long-held habits which disqualify you. It may be having the faith and the discipline to pay your tithing. Whatever it is, qualify to enter the temple of God. Secure a temple recommend and regard it as a precious possession, for such it is.

“Until you have entered the house of the Lord and have received all the blessings which await you there, you have not obtained everything the Church has to offer. The all-important and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we receive in the temples of God.

“Now, my young friends who are in your teenage years, always have the temple in your sights. Do nothing which will keep you from entering its doors and partaking of the sacred and eternal blessings there. I commend those of you who already go to the temple regularly to perform baptisms for the dead” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 93).

2 Nephi 13:16–24. “Daughters of Zion”

President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) explained that Isaiah’s warning to the “daughters of Zion” applies to men as well as women:

President Joseph Fielding Smith

“The standards expressed by the General Authorities of the Church are that women, as well as men, should dress modestly. They are taught proper deportment and modesty at all times. It is, in my judgment, a sad reflection on the ‘daughters of Zion’ when they dress immodestly. Moreover, this remark pertains to the men as well as to the women. The Lord gave commandments to ancient Israel that both men and women should cover their bodies and observe the law of chastity at all times” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr. [1966], 5:174).

Note that this prophecy is an example of dualism. It applied to people in Isaiah’s day, and it also applies to people today.

2 Nephi 15:26. “An ensign to the nations”

President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) gave the following explanation of the phrase “ensign to the nations”:

President Joseph Fielding Smith

That ensign [is] the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was established for the last time, never again to be destroyed or given to other people. It was the greatest event the world has seen since the day that the Redeemer was lifted upon the cross and worked out the infinite and eternal atonement. It meant more to mankind than anything else that has occurred since that day” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie [1956], 3:254–55).