Lesson 132: 3 Nephi 24–26

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

Jesus Christ fulfilled a commandment from Heavenly Father to share with the Nephites some prophecies from the prophet Malachi (see 3 Nephi 26:2). These prophecies taught that members of the house of Israel needed to repent and return to the Lord in preparation for the Savior’s Second Coming. Jesus Christ also expounded unto the Nephites “all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory” (3 Nephi 26:3). Mormon taught that those who believe the Book of Mormon will have even greater things manifested unto them (see 3 Nephi 26:9).

Suggestions for Teaching

3 Nephi 24

Jesus Christ quotes Malachi’s teachings regarding how the house of Israel can return to the Lord

Invite students to imagine that they have a close friend or family member who is struggling to maintain a testimony of the gospel and is drifting away from the Lord and His Church.

  • What would you do to try to help this person?

As students study 3 Nephi 24 today, invite them to look for truths that can help those who may be drifting away from the Lord and His Church.

Explain that Jesus Christ fulfilled a commandment from the Father (see 3 Nephi 26:2) to give the Nephites some of the prophecies of Malachi, an Old Testament prophet who lived in the Holy Land about 170 years after Lehi and his family left Jerusalem. Summarize 3 Nephi 24:1–6 by explaining that Malachi prophesied that Jesus Christ would purify the world at His Second Coming. As part of this purification, the wicked will be destroyed.

Invite students to read 3 Nephi 24:7 silently, and ask them to identify the Lord’s counsel to those who had begun to drift away from Him.

  • What do you think it means that the people had “gone away” from the Lord’s ordinances? (They were no longer keeping the covenants and ordinances of the gospel.)

  • What promise did the Lord give to those who had gone away from Him and His ordinances but had agreed to return?

Write the following principle on the board: If we will return unto the Lord, He will return unto us.

  • What do you think it means to “return” to the Lord? How do we “return” to Him?

  • What do you think it means that the Lord will “return unto” those who return to Him?

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 24:8–9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for one way the Lord indicated the people could return to Him.

  • What is one way the Lord indicated the people could return to Him? (As students respond, invite them to consider marking “tithes and offerings” in verse 8. If necessary, explain that “tithes” refers to the payment of tithing, which is 10 percent of a person’s income. “Offerings” can refer to fast offerings and other contributions we make to the Lord and His Church.)

  • How is willingness to pay tithing an indication that someone desires to return to the Lord?

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 24:10–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s promises to those who return to Him by paying a full and honest tithe.

  • What does the Lord promise to those who pay a full and honest tithe?

  • In what ways have you been blessed as a result of paying your tithing? How are these examples of “the windows of heaven” being opened for you?

Summarize 3 Nephi 24:13–18 by explaining that the Lord pointed out that some in ancient Israel had questioned the need to keep the ordinances of the gospel. They complained that the proud and the wicked seemed to prosper despite their unrighteousness. In 3 Nephi 24:16, the Lord responded that a “book of remembrance” would be kept wherein the names of the faithful would be recorded (see D&C 85:7–9; 128:6–7; Moses 6:5–8). The Lord then indicated that when He comes again, He will preserve the faithful and reserve them to Himself as a treasure, or “make up [His] jewels.”

3 Nephi 25

Jesus Christ quotes Malachi’s prophecy that Elijah would return prior to the Second Coming

Draw or display a picture of a tree on the board. Point out and label the three essential parts of a tree: branches, trunk, and roots.

tree with roots, trunk, branches
  • What would happen to a tree if we eliminated one of its vital parts?

Above the picture of the tree, write the word Family. Invite students to think of this tree as a family tree.

  • If the trunk of the tree represents you, what might the branches and roots represent? (You might label the parts of the tree as follows: trunk = me; roots = ancestors; branches = posterity.)

As students study 3 Nephi 25 today, invite them to look for how their actions can affect their family tree in the eternities.

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 25:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what those who are proud and wicked will experience at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

  • What will the proud and wicked experience at the Second Coming of the Lord?

Explain that the reference to the wicked being like stubble in the day of burning means that the wicked will be destroyed as part of the Lord’s cleansing of the earth at His Second Coming.

  • Based on our discussion about the family tree, what do you think the phrase “it shall leave them neither root nor branch” means for the wicked?

Erase or cover up the roots and branches from the picture on the board to illustrate that the tree is incomplete and limited without these vital parts.

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 25:5–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Savior said He would help the families of the world before His Second Coming.

  • Whom did the Savior say He would send before the Second Coming?

  • Who is Elijah? (You may want to show students the picture Elijah Appearing in the Kirtland Temple [Gospel Art Book (2009), no. 95; see also lds.org/media-library]. Remind students that Elijah is a prophet who held the keys of the sealing power and performed many mighty miracles [see 1 Kings 17–18; 2 Kings 1–2].)

  • What do you think the phrase “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (3 Nephi 25:6) means? (Explain that the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the word turn as used in this verse means to bind or seal [see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 472].)

elijah in the kirtland temple

Explain to students that the resurrected prophet Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple and conferred upon them the sealing keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood (see D&C 110:13–16). These keys opened the doors to family history and temple work for the living and for the dead.

  • What is our role in binding families together in the last days?

Write the following incomplete principle on the board: As we do family history and temple work, …

  • What will happen as we fulfill our responsibility to do family history and temple work for our ancestors? (After students respond, add the following to the incomplete principle on the board: our hearts will be turned to our ancestors.)

  • What are some ways in which you can participate in family history and temple work? (List students’ responses on the board. Their answers may include talking to parents, grandparents, and other relatives about their childhoods or conversion to the gospel and making a record of their stories; writing in a journal; exploring FamilySearch.org or helping with indexing; and performing ordinances in the temple for their ancestors and others.)

  • How do you think our ancestors feel toward us for doing this work for them?

  • What experiences have you had with doing family history and temple work for your own ancestors?

Ask students to write on a piece of paper one goal that will help them more fully participate in family history and temple work. Encourage them to take the paper home and place it where it will remind them of their goal.

3 Nephi 26

Jesus Christ expounds the scriptures, and Mormon teaches what must be done to receive the greater things the Savior revealed

Summarize 3 Nephi 26:1–5 by explaining that after the Savior shared the prophecies of Malachi, He taught the people “all things which should come upon the face of the earth” from the Creation to the Final Judgment (3 Nephi 26:3–4).

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 26:6–8 aloud, and ask the class to look for how much of what Jesus Christ taught was recorded in the Book of Mormon. Then invite students to read 3 Nephi 26:9–11 silently, looking for the reason Mormon did not include in his abridgment everything the Savior taught the Nephites. Emphasize that the word believe in these verses implies that we need to act on the doctrines and principles God has revealed and not merely hope that they are true.

  • According to 3 Nephi 26:9, what does the Lord promise to those who believe and act on what He has revealed? (As students respond, emphasize that as we believe and act on what God has revealed, we prepare ourselves to receive greater revelation.)

  • Why do you think it is necessary that we believe in the truths we have already received before we can receive additional truth?

  • How can we show that we believe what the Lord has revealed?

Promise students that as they faithfully study and apply the principles in the Book of Mormon, they will receive increased understanding of the gospel. Help students ponder how well they are receiving the truths in the Book of Mormon by inviting them to respond to the following questions in notebooks or study journals (you may want to write these questions on the board).

  • What are you doing in your life that demonstrates your belief in the Book of Mormon?

  • When has reading the Book of Mormon with real intent led you to receive personal revelation?

Commentary and Background Information

3 Nephi 24:11. Blessings for obeying the law of tithing

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught:

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“The Lord has promised that he will rebuke the devourer for our sakes. … May not that rebuke of the devourer apply to various of our personal efforts and concerns?

“There is the great blessing of wisdom, of knowledge, even hidden treasures of knowledge. We are promised that ours shall be a delightsome land if we will walk in obedience to this law. I can interpret the word land as people, that those who walk in obedience shall be a delightsome people. What a marvelous condition to be a delightsome people whom others would describe as blessed!” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Tithing: An Opportunity to Prove Our Faithfulness,” Ensign, May 1982, 40).

3 Nephi 25:1–6. “Learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah”

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

Elder David A. Bednar

“I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead (see D&C 124:28–36). And I urge you to help other people identify their family histories.

“As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives” (David A. Bednar, “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 26–27).

3 Nephi 25:6. The hearts of the children will be turned to their fathers

In approximately 430 BC, the prophet Malachi prophesied that Elijah would return to the earth “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5). This prophecy is of such importance that it is found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price (see Malachi 4:5–6; 3 Nephi 25:5–6; D&C 2:1–3; Joseph Smith—History 1:37–39). This prophecy reveals that one purpose of Elijah’s return was to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers.

President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) explained some ways in which the hearts of children are being turned to their fathers:

President Joseph Fielding Smith

The fathers are our dead ancestors who died without the privilege of receiving the gospel, but who received the promise that the time would come when that privilege would be granted them. The children are those now living who are preparing genealogical data and who are performing the vicarious ordinances in the temples [Joseph Fielding Smith, “Salvation for the Dead,” Millennial Star, Dec. 8, 1927, 775; Isaiah 42:7; 61:1; Zechariah 11:9; Moses 7:36–40; Abraham 2:8–11].

The turning of the hearts of the children to the fathers is placing or planting in the hearts of the children that feeling and desire which will inspire them to search out the records of the dead. Moreover the planting of the desire and inspiration in their hearts is necessary. This they must have in order that they might go into the house of the Lord and perform the necessary labor for their fathers, who died without a knowledge of the gospel, or without the privilege of receiving the fulness of the gospel [Andrew Jenson, “The ‘Mormons’ as Pioneers,” The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Jan. 1918, 15–16]” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie [1955], 2:127–28).

3 Nephi 25:6. “Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following about how the earth would be smitten with a curse if Elijah did not come:

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“Inasmuch as such a sealed, united, celestially saved family of God is the ultimate purpose of mortality, any failure here would have been a curse indeed” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 298).

Supplemental Teaching Idea

3 Nephi 24:1–6. Jesus Christ quotes Malachi’s prophecy concerning the Second Coming

Begin class by holding up a match and a bar of soap (or draw on the board a picture of fire and a bar of soap). Ask students what fire and soap have in common. (Soap and fire can both be used as cleansing or purifying agents.)

Explain that Jesus Christ fulfilled a commandment from the Father (see 3 Nephi 26:2) to give the Nephites some of the prophecies of Malachi, an Old Testament prophet who lived in the Holy Land about 170 years after Lehi and his family left Jerusalem. Ask students to read 3 Nephi 24:1–3 silently, looking for someone who Malachi compared to a “refiner’s fire” and “fuller’s soap.”

  • Who is compared to a refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap? (Jesus Christ.)

  • What event is described in these verses? (“The day of his coming.” In other words, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. To help students answer this question, you may want to suggest that they scan the chapter heading or the footnotes.)

  • What does the comparison of Jesus Christ to fire and soap suggest will take place at His Second Coming? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following truth: At His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will purify the world. You may want to invite students to write this truth in their scriptures next to 3 Nephi 24:2–3.)

Explain that a refiner uses fire to heat a metal like silver or gold until it reaches a liquid state. The heating process allows dross, or impurities, to rise to the surface of the liquid metal, where the refiner can remove them, thus purging the metal of its impurities. A fuller is someone who cleans or whitens fabrics using soap. You may also need to explain that the “sons of Levi” were priesthood holders in ancient Israel. Today the phrase can refer to modern-day priesthood holders (see D&C 84:33–34).

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 24:5–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and identify who will be consumed, or destroyed, at the Savior’s Second Coming and who will not be consumed. (You may want to explain that the phrase “sons of Jacob” refers to the Lord’s covenant people in the house of Israel.)

  • According to 3 Nephi 24:5, what will Jesus Christ do at His Second Coming? (Though students may use different words, they should identify the following truth: Jesus Christ will destroy the wicked at His Second Coming.)