In 2 Nephi 3, Lehi gave words of counsel and blessing to his youngest son, Joseph. In doing so, Lehi recounted Joseph of Egypt’s prophecy concerning the role of the choice seer Joseph Smith Jr. in bringing forth the Book of Mormon. In this lesson you will have the opportunity to gain greater appreciation for the Prophet Joseph Smith and a stronger testimony of his divinely appointed role in the Restoration of the gospel.
Lehi recounts Joseph of Egypt’s prophecy about the Prophet Joseph Smith
Lehi continued his final counsel to his family by teaching his son Joseph about three other men who were also named Joseph. Draw a line from the scripture reference in 2 Nephi 3 to the Joseph or Josephs you learn about in that verse.
This lesson will focus on Joseph of Egypt’s prophecy about the Prophet Joseph Smith—given over 3,000 years before Joseph Smith was born!
Begin a list in your scripture journal of events and teachings that come to mind as you think about the Prophet Joseph Smith and his role in the Restoration of the gospel. You will be adding to this list as you discover more information throughout this lesson, so leave room to write more.
Read 2 Nephi 3:6–8, and identify words and phrases that Joseph of Egypt used to describe the Prophet Joseph Smith and the work he would accomplish. Add any of these words and phrases that you feel are important to your list about the Prophet in your scripture journal. In these verses Joseph of Egypt testified that the Lord raised up the Prophet Joseph Smith to help bring about the Restoration of the gospel. As you continue to study 2 Nephi 3, look for additional truths about the Prophet Joseph Smith that can strengthen your testimony of his divine mission and add them to your list.
To help you understand Joseph of Egypt’s prophecy better, note how often the word seer occurs in 2 Nephi 3:6–7, 11, and 14. You may wish to make a note in your margin beside one of these verses that a seer is a person who can know of things past, present, and future (see Mosiah 8:13–17).
In 2 Nephi 3:7, Joseph of Egypt said that the Lord told him that Joseph Smith would “do a work … which shall be of great worth” to his descendants. Search 2 Nephi 3:11–15, 19–21 looking for what work “of great worth” the Lord would accomplish through the Prophet Joseph. The study aids that are available to you (chapter summaries, footnotes, Guide to the Scriptures, and such) can help you understand many of the details Joseph of Egypt referred to. As you find new information about the role of the Prophet Joseph Smith, add it to the list in your scripture journal.
When the scriptures refer to “the fruit of [someone’s] loins,” they are referring to that person’s descendants. Joseph of Egypt prophesied that the Prophet Joseph Smith, one of his descendants, would bring forth the Book of Mormon in the latter days.
In 2 Nephi 3:12, the phrase “the fruit of thy loins [Joseph of Egypt’s descendants] shall write” refers to the written scriptural record—the Book of Mormon—made by the descendants of Joseph (see 2 Nephi 3:4). It was prophesied that the Book of Mormon would “grow together” with the Bible, a sacred record written by “the fruit of the loins of Judah.” Search 2 Nephi 3:12 for phrases that describe the impact the Book of Mormon and Bible would have on the world as they grew together.
Joseph of Egypt also prophesied that the Prophet Joseph Smith would play an important role in Heavenly Father’s plan to “bring my people unto salvation” (2 Nephi 3:15).
Answer the following questions in your scripture journal to help you continue to expand your appreciation for Joseph Smith’s role in Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation:
What are some examples of covenants, authority, or ordinances that were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith that can help bring people salvation?
What differences have these blessings made in your life?
Look for words or phrases that describe the Prophet Joseph Smith in 2 Nephi 3:24, and add them to the list in your scripture journal. As you read the following quotation from President Gordon B. Hinckley, add to your list any additional teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith that confirm he was “an instrument in the hands of God”:
“Permit me to name a few of many doctrines and practices which distinguish us from all other churches, and all of which have come of revelation to the youthful Prophet [Joseph Smith]. …
“The first of these, of course, is the manifestation of God Himself and His beloved Son, the risen Lord Jesus Christ. …
“This knowledge of Deity, hidden from the world for centuries, was the first and great thing which God revealed to his chosen servant. …
“The Book of Mormon has come forth by the gift and power of God. …
“Another [contribution of the Prophet Joseph Smith] is the restored priesthood. …
“Another great and singular revelation given to the Prophet was the plan for the eternal life of the family. …
“The innocence of little children is another revelation which God has given through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph. …
“… The great doctrine of salvation for the dead is unique to this Church. …
“The eternal nature of man has been revealed. …
“… There is one more that I must mention. This is the principle of modern revelation. …
“… During the brief 38 and one-half years of his life, there came through [the Prophet Joseph Smith] an incomparable outpouring of knowledge, gifts, and doctrine” (“The Great Things Which God Has Revealed,” Ensign, May 2005, 80–83).
After the Prophet Joseph Smith’s martyrdom, President John Taylor wrote what became Doctrine and Covenants 135. Read Doctrine and Covenants 135:3, and ponder what you have learned in this lesson about Joseph Smith’s role in Heavenly Father’s plan for the Restoration of the gospel.
Write a response to one of the following questions in your scripture journal:
Prayerfully seek ways to share your testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith with your friends and family to help them recognize the many things of great worth that were restored through him.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture journal:
I have studied 2 Nephi 3 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: