In 3 Nephi 24–25, Jesus Christ fulfilled Heavenly Father’s commandment to give the people some of the prophecies of Malachi. Malachi had declared the need for the house of Israel to repent and return to the Lord in preparation for the Savior’s coming. As recorded in 3 Nephi 26:3, Jesus Christ expounded unto the people “all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory.” Mormon then taught that those who believe the Book of Mormon would have greater things manifested unto them (see 3 Nephi 26:9).
As He recited some of the prophecies of Malachi to the Nephites, Jesus Christ referred to the images of fire and soap. Imagine a glowing fire and a piece of soap. Think about what these two objects might have in common as purifying or cleansing agents.
Read 3 Nephi 24:2–3. In 3 Nephi 24:2, Jesus Christ is compared to a refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap because of what He will do at His Second Coming. In 3 Nephi 24:3, He is compared to a silversmith, who purifies silver. To understand these verses, it is helpful to know that the process for refining silver requires the silversmith to hold a piece of silver over the hottest part of the fire to burn away the impurities. The refiner has to watch the silver closely, for if the silver is left even a moment too long in the flames, it will be destroyed. A fuller is a person who cleans garments or whitens them using soap. The “sons of Levi” were those who held the priesthood in ancient Israel; this term can apply to all of the Lord’s people today.
Ponder what this imagery suggests will take place at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In your scriptures next to 3 Nephi 24:2–3, you may want to write: At His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will purify His people.
Read 3 Nephi 24:5–6, and identify who will and who will not be consumed or destroyed at the Savior’s coming. (Note that in this passage the “sons of Jacob” are the Lord’s covenant people in the house of Israel.) These verses teach the principle: Jesus Christ will judge the wicked at His coming.
Write the following heading in your scripture study journal: What I must do to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. As you continue to study 3 Nephi 24–26, list under this heading what you learn that will help you prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Imagine that a close friend or family member does not seem to be concerned about how a person’s actions might affect him or her in the Judgment, the Second Coming, or in eternity. Think about what you might say to try and help this person. Read 3 Nephi 24:7, and identify what the Lord said to the sons of Jacob 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?
In the Church, an ordinance is a sacred, formal act performed by the authority of the priesthood. Some ordinances are essential to our exaltation. These ordinances are called “saving ordinances.” They include baptism, confirmation, ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood (for men), the temple endowment, and the marriage sealing. With each of these ordinances, we enter into solemn covenants with the Lord. You may want to list the saving ordinances under the heading in journal assignment 1. Think about how these ordinances help us prepare for the Second Coming.
Although the Lord’s people had strayed from the ordinances and covenants of the gospel, notice the promise in 3 Nephi 24:7, which the Lord gave them if they would return unto Him. You may want to mark this promise in your scriptures to help you remember that if we return unto the Lord, He will return unto us.
Read 3 Nephi 24:8–10, and look for one way that the Lord indicated the sons of Jacob could return to Him and thus prepare for the Second Coming. You may want to include paying tithes and offerings in the list under the heading in journal assignment 1.
Read the following counsel from President Gordon B. Hinckley about paying tithing: “We can pay our tithing. This is not so much a matter of money as it is a matter of faith” (“Let Us Move This Work Forward,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 85).
Ponder for a moment how your willingness to give tithes and offerings to the Lord is an indication of your faith in Him. Read 3 Nephi 24:10–12, and focus on the blessings for those who pay a full and honest tithe.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What blessings have you received from obedience to the law of tithing?
How do you think keeping the commandment to pay your tithes and offerings has helped you to spiritually prepare yourself for the Second Coming?
Some people in ancient Israel murmured that keeping the Lord’s commandments had not done them any good. They felt that their efforts were in vain, or pointless (see 3 Nephi 24:14). On the other hand, they argued that the proud and wicked were “happy,” “set up,” and “delivered” (3 Nephi 24:15). In other words, these people claimed that the wicked were better off than the righteous. The Lord responded to these complaints by saying that those who fear the Lord and think upon His name, and who meet together often to speak one to another, would find their names written in “a book of remembrance” (3 Nephi 24:16). They would be the ones who were prepared for the Lord’s coming and be spared as His own treasured “jewels” (see 3 Nephi 24:16–17). The Lord challenged those who complained to wait and observe the end result when they could then “return and discern between the righteous and the wicked” (3 Nephi 24:18). They will see that the righteous are much better off in the end.
Read 3 Nephi 25:1–3, and look for why the Second Coming will be a blessing to those who are faithful to Jesus Christ. The word root in verse 1 refers to ancestors, and branch refers to posterity. Thus, in the next life the wicked will not enjoy the blessings of being sealed to either their ancestors or to their posterity. The calves that “grow up … in the stall” are a symbol for children who are protected, cared for, and have all things necessary for them as they grow up.
The Savior shared with the Nephites what Malachi wrote about an event that would take place before the Second Coming and would involve the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Read 3 Nephi 25:5–6, and look for what Malachi taught that Elijah would do to help prepare the world for the Lord’s coming.
Elijah’s return to the earth was an essential part of the Restoration of the gospel. On April 3, 1836, Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the newly dedicated Kirtland Temple (see D&C 110). He conferred upon them the sealing power of the priesthood, making it possible for families to be sealed throughout the generations. What do you think the statement that “he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (3 Nephi 25:6) means?
These verses teach that as our hearts are turned to our fathers, we are helping to prepare the earth for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Write in your scripture study journal an experience you or your family members have had that has helped you turn your heart to your ancestors. This might include being sealed in the holy temple, researching your family history, or participating in baptisms for the dead. If you cannot think of an experience, write a short paragraph about your desire to participate in this work. (Under journal assignment 1, you may want to write: receiving temple ordinances for yourself and your family, attending the temple, and gathering family history information.)
We learn from 3 Nephi 26:3 that the Savior taught the Nephites “all things which should come upon the face of the earth.” Read 3 Nephi 26:6–8, looking for how much of the Savior’s sermon was recorded in the Book of Mormon. Study 3 Nephi 26:9–11 to find out why Mormon did not include everything.
The Lord directed Mormon to include only a small portion of those teachings in order to try our faith. From 3 Nephi 26:1–21 we learn that as we believe what God has revealed, we prepare ourselves to receive greater revelation. Why do you think believing the truths we have already received is essential before we receive additional truth? (See Alma 12:9–11.) How can we show that we believe what the Lord has revealed?
To apply the bolded principle above, respond to the following question in your scripture study journal: What are you doing in your life to demonstrate your belief in the Book of Mormon?
As recorded in the rest of 3 Nephi 26, Mormon summarized the Savior’s ministry and its effect on the Nephites. Read 3 Nephi 26:13–21, and consider marking how the people put the words of Jesus Christ into practice.
Write the following note at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 3 Nephi 24–26 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: