Lesson 129

3 Nephi 20

“Lesson 129: 3 Nephi 20,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)


Introduction

On the second day of His ministry among the Nephites, Jesus Christ again administered the sacrament to the people. He testified that the covenants and promises of the Father would be fulfilled in the last days. Israel would be gathered, and all the nations of the earth would be blessed.

Suggestions for Teaching

3 Nephi 20:1–9

The Savior administers the sacrament to the people again

Invite students to think about what they would say to a friend who confided in them that he does not feel he benefits from partaking of the sacrament and that it does not seem important to him.

After students have had sufficient time to consider what they would say, explain that during the second day of His ministry among the Nephites, the Savior and His disciples administered the sacrament to the people a second time. As students study this account, invite them to look for a truth that can help the sacrament be more meaningful to them.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 3 Nephi 20:1–7. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior instructed the Nephites to do that could help them have a meaningful experience with the sacrament.

  • As recorded in verse 1, what did the Savior instruct the Nephites to do that could help them have a meaningful experience with the sacrament? (If students do not mention it, point out the following sentence: “And he commanded them that they should not cease to pray in their hearts.”)

  • What does it mean to you to “not cease to pray” in your heart?

  • How do you think that continuing to pray in their hearts influenced the Nephites’ experience of partaking of the sacrament?

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 20:8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior promised to those who partake of the sacrament.

  • What did Jesus Christ promise to those who partake of the sacrament? (Their souls shall be filled.)

To help students understand what it means for their souls to be filled, ask them to think about the amount of bread and water they usually eat and drink when they partake of the sacrament. Then ask:

  • If you were hungry and thirsty, would you be filled by these?

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 20:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Nephites were filled as they prayerfully partook of the sacrament.

  • How were the Nephites filled as they prayerfully partook of the sacrament?

  • What is a principle we can learn from the Savior’s teachings in 3 Nephi 20:1–9? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following principle: As we prayerfully partake of the sacrament, we can be filled with the Holy Ghost. Invite students to consider writing this principle in their scriptures.)

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for the instruction he gave about preparing for the sacrament.

President Russell M. Nelson

“[The period before sacrament meeting begins] is not a time for conversation or transmission of messages but a period of prayerful meditation as leaders and members prepare spiritually for the sacrament” (Russell M. Nelson, “Worshiping at Sacrament Meeting,” Ensign, Aug. 2004, 27).

  • Why do you think it is important to avoid talking or transmitting messages to others before or during the sacrament?

  • How can praying before and during the sacrament help us to be filled with the Holy Ghost?

Divide students into pairs or small groups and invite them to explain to one another how the principle they identified from 3 Nephi 20:1–9 could help them respond to the friend who does not feel like he benefits from the sacrament.

Testify of the blessings you have received from partaking of the sacrament and being filled with the Spirit. Affirm that praying in our hearts is one way we can prepare to partake of the sacrament and to be filled with the Holy Ghost. Encourage students to spend time in prayer prior to and during the ordinance of the sacrament.

3 Nephi 20:10–46

The Savior teaches the Nephites of covenants that will be fulfilled in the last days

Invite students to write in their class notebooks or study journals a brief description of their most important qualities. Ask a few students to read aloud what they wrote.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and ask the class to listen for what he says should define a person’s identity:

Elder David A. Bednar

“You may enjoy music, athletics, or be mechanically inclined, and someday you may work in a trade or a profession or in the arts. As important as such activities and occupations can be, they do not define who we are. First and foremost, we are spiritual beings. We are [children] of God and the seed of Abraham” (David A. Bednar, “Becoming a Missionary,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 47).

  • How did Elder Bednar define who we are?

  • Why do you think it is important for us to see ourselves “first and foremost” as spiritual beings who are children of God?

Point out that in addition to saying that we are children of God, Elder Bednar said that we are the seed of Abraham. Explain that the phrase “seed of Abraham” can refer to people who are literal descendants of Abraham. It can also refer to people who, by accepting and obeying the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, receive the fulness of the gospel, the blessings of the priesthood, and the same promises and covenants that God made with Abraham. (See Guide to the Scriptures, “Abraham,” scriptures.lds.org.)

Explain that the Savior told the Nephites that they could learn about these covenants by studying the words of Isaiah. Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 20:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior said will happen when the words of Isaiah are fulfilled. After students report what they have found, you may need to explain that the words of Isaiah are being fulfilled in the last days.

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 20:13 aloud, and ask students to identify how Heavenly Father will fulfill His covenant with the house of Israel in the last days. Ask students to summarize the truths they have learned from 3 Nephi 20:11–13. (Students’ answers may vary, but they should identify the following truth: God will fulfill His covenant to gather the house of Israel in the last days. Consider writing this truth on the board.)

  • According to 3 Nephi 20:13, what knowledge will the people of the house of Israel gain as an essential part of this gathering? (They will gain “the knowledge of the Lord their God, who hath redeemed them.”)

Explain that the gathering of Israel primarily consists of the scattered remnants of the house of Israel coming to believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as the Savior of the world by being baptized and becoming members of His Church. For some of the house of Israel it also includes gathering to a particular land of inheritance.

Summarize 3 Nephi 20:14–22. Explain that the Savior taught the Nephites that as part of the gathering of Israel, and in fulfillment of the Lord’s covenant with Abraham, Heavenly Father gave the descendants of Lehi the land upon which they dwelt as an inheritance. He also explained another way the Nephites were blessed as children of the covenant.

Invite students to read 3 Nephi 20:23–24 silently, looking for who Moses prophesied would bless the house of Israel. After students report what they have found, invite them to read 3 Nephi 20:25–26 silently. Ask them to identify how the descendants of Lehi were blessed because of the covenant the Lord made with Abraham. As students report what they have found, emphasize that Heavenly Father sent Jesus Christ to visit the descendants of Lehi and save them from sin first “because [they were] the children of the covenant.”

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 20:27 aloud, and ask the class to identify a responsibility that comes with the covenants we make with the Lord.

  • Once we have made covenants with the Lord, what is our responsibility toward other people throughout the earth? (Students should identify the following truth: As the seed of Abraham, we have a covenant responsibility to bless all the people of the earth. Consider writing this truth on the board.)

  • How do you think we can be a blessing to all the people of the earth? (If you have written the doctrinal statement on the board, add to it the words “by sharing the gospel with them.”)

Place a clear glass or container of water where students can see it. Drop into the water a few drops of bright food coloring or another dye that is bright enough to change the color of the water, and ask students to observe what happens.

  • What effect did this small amount of dye have on the rest of the water?

  • How might this demonstration illustrate the covenant responsibility given to the seed of Abraham?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

President Russell M. Nelson

“Ours is the responsibility to help fulfill the Abrahamic covenant. Ours is the seed foreordained and prepared to bless all people of the world [see Alma 13:1–9]. That is why priesthood duty includes missionary work. After some 4,000 years of anticipation and preparation, this is the appointed day when the gospel is to be taken to the kindreds of the earth. This is the time of the promised gathering of Israel. And we get to participate!” (Russell M. Nelson, “Covenants,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 88).

Invite students to write on the board the location or mission where family members or friends have served or are currently serving missions. You might also consider sharing official statistics about the number of missions and missionaries throughout the world from mormonnewsroom.org. Invite students to share experiences of how a friend or family member has blessed an individual or family in one of the missions represented on the board. You might also invite students to tell the class about their experiences of sharing the gospel with their friends.

Testify of the importance of fulfilling our responsibility to help gather Israel. Invite students to pray about and seek for opportunities to share the gospel with others.

Summarize 3 Nephi 20:29–46 by briefly explaining that in addition to teaching the Nephites about their blessings and responsibilities as children of the covenant, the Savior affirmed that the Jews’ land of inheritance would be Jerusalem. He quoted the prophecies of Isaiah, which foretell of the time when the Jews will be restored to the land of their inheritance after they believe in Jesus Christ and pray to the Father in His name.

Commentary and Background Information

3 Nephi 20:8. “Eateth of my body … and … drinketh of my blood”

Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained the figurative meaning of the Savior’s invitation to eat His flesh and drink His blood:

Elder James E. Talmage

To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ was and is to believe in and accept Him as the literal Son of God and Savior of the world, and to obey His commandments. By these means only may the Spirit of God become an abiding part of man’s individual being, even as the substance of the food he eats is assimilated with the tissues of his body” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ [1916], 342; italics added).

3 Nephi 20:16–17. “As a young lion among the flocks of sheep”

Referring to the teachings in 3 Nephi 20:16–17, Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–1985) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“These words of our Lord to the Nephites are quoted from Micah 5:8–9 and have reference to the desolations and ultimate burning that shall destroy the wicked at the Second Coming. Except for a few who are the humble followers of Christ, the Gentiles will not repent. They will revel in their abominations and sin against the restored gospel, and they will be burned by the brightness of our Lord’s coming while the righteous—here called the remnant of Jacob—shall abide the day. And then, in the prophetic imagery, it will be as though the remnant of Israel overthrew their enemies as a young lion among the flocks of sheep” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [1982], 248).

3 Nephi 20:27. You have a duty to share the gospel

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles affirmed our duty to share the gospel with others:

Elder David A. Bednar

“You and I, today and always, are to bless all peoples in all the nations of the earth. You and I, today and always, are to bear witness of Jesus Christ and declare the message of the Restoration. You and I, today and always, are to invite all to receive the ordinances of salvation. Proclaiming the gospel is not a part-time priesthood obligation. It is not simply an activity in which we engage for a limited time or an assignment we must complete as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rather, missionary work is a manifestation of our spiritual identity and heritage. We were foreordained in the premortal existence and born into mortality to fulfill the covenant and promise God made to Abraham. We are here upon the earth at this time to magnify the priesthood and to preach the gospel. That is who we are, and that is why we are here—today and always” (David A. Bednar, “Becoming a Missionary,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 47).