Lesson 37: 2 Nephi 27

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

Referring to the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Nephi prophesied that the Lord would “do a marvelous work and a wonder” in the last days. He also testified of the fundamental role the Book of Mormon would play in the Lord’s work in the latter days.

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Nephi 27:1–5

Nephi prophesies that in the last days the earth will be filled with wickedness

Display the following items: a container of deodorant, a tube of toothpaste, and a bar or container of soap. Explain that each item is intended to be a solution to a problem. Ask students to explain what problem each item is intended to solve. (You may choose to use other items that could be considered solutions to specific problems.)

Explain that Nephi’s prophecy recorded in 2 Nephi 27 tells of problems that would exist in our day and what God would do to solve these problems. Explain that a similar prophecy is found in Isaiah 29.

Invite a few students to take turns reading 2 Nephi 27:1–5 aloud. Ask the class to look for words and phrases that describe some problems of the last days. Ask a few students to report phrases they find. To help students analyze some of these phrases, you may want to ask the following questions:

  • What do you think it means to be “drunken with iniquity” (verse 1)?

  • In 2 Nephi 27:3, we read that some people in the last days are likened to a hungry man who dreams of eating or a thirsty man who dreams of drinking but then awakens and feels his soul is empty. What can we learn from this? (Eating or drinking in a dream gives no lasting satisfaction and accomplishes nothing, since hunger or thirst remains after the dream. Likewise, those who “fight against Mount Zion,” or the Lord’s Church, will have no lasting satisfaction, nor will they accomplish anything meaningful.)

  • What do you think the phrase “ye have closed your eyes” (verse 5) means?

To help students identify gospel truths found in 2 Nephi 27:1–5, invite them to summarize what they have learned from these verses. Write their answers on the board. Make sure students identify the following principle: In the last days, many people will be full of iniquity and will reject the prophets.

  • In what ways do you see this prophecy being fulfilled in our day?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. President Packer spoke about the widespread iniquity that surrounds us in the last days.

President Boyd K. Packer

“I know of nothing in the history of the Church or in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now.

“Words of profanity, vulgarity, and blasphemy are heard everywhere. Unspeakable wickedness and perversion were once hidden in dark places; now they are in the open, even accorded legal protection.

“At Sodom and Gomorrah these things were localized. Now they are spread across the world, and they are among us” (Boyd K. Packer, “The One Pure Defense” [evening with a General Authority, Feb. 6, 2004], 4).

2 Nephi 27:6–23

Nephi prophesies of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon

Invite students to read 2 Nephi 27:6 silently. Ask them to look for something the Lord would provide to help solve people’s spiritual problems in the last days.

  • What would the Lord provide?

  • What book do you think this verse is describing? (You may want to explain that the phrase “them which have slumbered” refers to the deceased prophets who kept the records that became the Book of Mormon.)

Hold up a copy of the Book of Mormon. Explain that the Lord brought forth this book to help correct problems in the last days and to bring light to a darkened world. The Lord revealed to ancient prophets details concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Nephi recorded these details in 2 Nephi 27.

Summarize 2 Nephi 27:7–11 by explaining that Nephi prophesied of the withholding and eventual coming forth of the sealed portion of the golden plates, which contains a revelation of “all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof” (verse 10).

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 27:12–14 aloud. Ask the class to look for who Nephi said would be permitted to see the book.

  • Who were the three witnesses who were allowed to see the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated? (Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris.)

  • Who do you think the other witnesses mentioned in verse 13 were? (You may need to remind students of the eight additional witnesses of the Book of Mormon.)

handout iconPrepare the following chart as a handout, or copy it on the board. (To save time, you might want to do this before class begins.)

Nephi’s Prophecy in 2 Nephi 27:15–19

Nephi’s prophecy of what the man would do

(2 Nephi 27:15–19)

The name of the man who fulfilled Nephi’s prophecy

(Joseph Smith—History 1:63–65)

First Man (“not learned”)

  

Second Man (“another”)

  

Third Man (“learned”)

  

© 2017 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Divide the class into pairs. Explain that each partnership will study a prophecy regarding the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as well as the fulfillment of that prophecy. Distribute the handout, or ask students to copy the chart in their class notebooks or study journals. Ask them to write the answers in the chart using the provided scripture references. (You may want to explain that the word characters, found in Joseph Smith—History 1:63–65, refers to the writing engraved on the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated.) When students have finished, invite them to share their answers with the class.

  • If God had His choice of learned men to translate the Book of Mormon, why do you think He chose Joseph Smith, who was “not learned” (2 Nephi 27:19)?

Invite students to read 2 Nephi 27:20–21 silently, looking for a reason why God chose someone who was not learned to translate the Book of Mormon. Ask students to report what they find.

  • What does the phrase “I am able to do mine own work” (verse 20) mean to you? (Help students understand that one meaning of this phrase is that God can accomplish His work by His power.)

  • What does this phrase indicate about how God would bring forth the Book of Mormon through Joseph Smith? (Help students identify the following truth: By the gift and power of God, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon.)

Explain that the Lord provided instruments—the Urim and Thummim, which had been buried with the plates—to assist Joseph Smith in translating the Book of Mormon. Joseph’s wife Emma and others reported that Joseph at times also used a small oval stone, referred to as a seer stone, to assist in translating portions of the Book of Mormon. When Joseph Smith was asked for specifics about the process of translation, he testified that it had been done “by the gift and power of God” (see “Book of Mormon Translation,” Gospel Topics, topics.lds.org).

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Emma Smith (1804–1879), who testified that Joseph received divine assistance in translating the Book of Mormon:

Emma Smith

“Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictat[e] a book like the Book of Mormon. …

“My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity—I have not the slightest doubt of it. I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, [he] would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible” (“Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” The Saints’ Herald, vol. 26, no. 19 [Oct. 1, 1879], 290).

  • Why is it important to know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God?

2 Nephi 27:24–35

Nephi prophesies of the positive impact of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon

Hold up one of the objects you displayed at the beginning of this lesson, and remind students that it was created to solve a particular problem. Remind students of the spiritual problems of the latter days mentioned in 2 Nephi 27:5.

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 27:25–26 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for additional spiritual problems that Isaiah and Nephi prophesied would exist in the latter days. Invite students to report what they find. (You might want to write students’ answers on the board.)

  • According to verse 26, what did the Lord say He would do to help overcome these problems?

Explain that President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated that this “marvelous work would include the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the gospel” (“Scriptural Witnesses,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 46).

Write the following truth on the board: The Restoration of the gospel, including the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, is a marvelous work and a wonder.

  • What about the Restoration of the gospel and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon can be considered “marvelous” and “a wonder” (verse 26)?

  • How does studying the Book of Mormon help you overcome the spiritual challenges and wickedness that you encounter? (Consider sharing your thoughts and feelings as well.)

Summarize 2 Nephi 27:29–35 by explaining that Nephi testified that the Book of Mormon would help people gain spiritual sight and learn true doctrine.

Invite students to use the Book of Mormon to help them and others overcome the spiritual challenges and wickedness that they encounter. Encourage students to continue their efforts to study the Book of Mormon daily.

Commentary and Background Information

2 Nephi 27:10–11. “For the book shall be sealed”

The book being “sealed” can refer to the Book of Mormon, in general, being protected against unauthorized possession or use. It can also refer to a specific portion of the golden plates that were physically sealed off (“the revelation which was sealed” [2 Nephi 27:10]). This sealed portion contains a vision revealing “all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof” (2 Nephi 27:10), given to the brother of Jared (see Ether 3:25–27; 4:4–5; see also the chart titled “The Plates and Their Relationship to the Published Book of Mormon,” located in the appendix of this manual). Nephi prophesied that the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon would be brought forth in the “due time of the Lord” (2 Nephi 27:10).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of scriptures yet to be revealed:

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“Many more scriptural writings will yet come to us, including those of Enoch (see D&C 107:57), all of the writings of the Apostle John (see Ether 4:16), the records of the lost tribes of Israel (see 2 Nephi 29:13), and the approximately two-thirds of the Book of Mormon plates that were sealed: ‘And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth’ (2 Nephi 27:11)” (Neal A. Maxwell, A Wonderful Flood of Light [1990], 18).

2 Nephi 27:20–21. “I am able to do mine own work”

In writing the title page of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni said that the interpretation of the record would “come forth by the gift and power of God.” At the time Joseph Smith received the golden plates, he also received the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord had prepared for translating the plates (see Joseph Smith—History 1:33–35, 59, 62). Joseph Smith also used a small oval stone referred to as a seer stone, which he had obtained years before. Several scribes and others who observed the translation described how “Joseph placed either the interpreters or the seer stone in a hat, pressed his face into the hat to block out extraneous light, and read aloud the English words that appeared on the instrument” (“Book of Mormon Translation,” Gospel Topics, topics.lds.org). When asked about the process of translation, Joseph Smith responded that it had been done “by the gift and power of God.” (For more information, see “Book of Mormon Translation,” Gospel Topics, topics.lds.org; Richard E. Turley Jr., Robin S. Jensen, and Mark Ashurst-McGee, “Joseph the Seer,” Ensign, Oct. 2015, 49–54.)

Supplemental Teaching Idea

video icon2 Nephi 27:25–26. Video presentation—“A Marvelous Work and a Wonder”

After students identify the truth that the Restoration of the gospel, including the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, is a marvelous work and a wonder, consider showing the video “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder” (5:46), available on LDS.org. This video portrays events contributing to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, including Martin Harris’s experience with Charles Anthon. If you are short on time, you could stop the video after Joseph says, “Yes, this will do” (time code 3:39).

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  • How was the coming forth of the Book of Mormon a marvelous work?

Ask a student to read the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), which details some of the remarkable events that constitute the marvelous work and wonder about which Nephi prophesied:

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“That glorious day dawned in the year 1820, when a boy, earnest and with faith, walked into a grove of trees and lifted his voice in prayer, seeking that wisdom which he felt he so much needed.

“There came in response a glorious manifestation. God the Eternal Father and the risen Lord Jesus Christ appeared and spoke with him. The curtains which had been closed for much of two millennia were parted to usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times. There followed the restoration of the holy priesthood, first the Aaronic, and then the Melchizedek, under the hands of those who had held it anciently. Another testament, speaking as a voice from the dust, came forth as a second witness to the reality and the divinity of the Son of God, the great Redeemer of the world.

“Keys of divine authority were restored, including those keys which were necessary to bind together families for time and eternity in a covenant which death could not destroy.

“The stone was small in the beginning. It was hardly noticeable. But it has grown steadily and is rolling forth to fill the earth” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “At the Summit of the Ages,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 74).

Invite students to write a few paragraphs in their class notebooks or study journals about how the gospel has been a “marvelous work and a wonder” in their lives or in the lives of their family members or friends.