Chapter 10: 2 Nephi 11–16

Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, (2009), 37–41


Introduction

Nephi and his brother Jacob quoted Isaiah extensively, and they both declared that we should liken Isaiah’s teachings to ourselves (see 1 Nephi 19:23; 2 Nephi 6:5). Although Isaiah lived long ago and often spoke about people, places, and things that are unfamiliar to us, his teachings are relevant to our lives today. As you and your students search his words, you will find that his warnings, words of encouragement, and declarations about the Savior are as timely now as they were when he wrote them.

Each of the Isaiah chapters has its own message. However, some themes stretch through more than one chapter. This lesson, covering 2 Nephi 11–16, refers to the great judgments that will befall the wicked in the last days and the Lord’s promise to remember His people in those days. The next lesson covers 2 Nephi 17–24, which contain Isaiah’s prophecies of how the promise to preserve the humble and obedient followers of Jesus Christ will be fulfilled. Chapter 12 covers 2 Nephi 25–27, which include Nephi’s own commentary and help bring clarity and understanding to the Isaiah writings, removing many stumbling blocks readers may face. Nephi also testifies that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon helps fulfill specific prophecies of Isaiah.

Do not be overly concerned about the meanings of symbolic language. Instead, help students see how Isaiah’s message applies in their lives.

Some Doctrines and Principles

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Nephi 11:1–3. Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah Serve as Three Witnesses of Christ in the Book of Mormon

Hold up a copy of the Book of Mormon. Ask students if they can identify the three main writers in the small plates of Nephi. Help them understand that the writings of Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah constitute 135 of the 143 pages in the small plates (from the book of 1 Nephi through the book of Omni).

Read 2 Nephi 11:1–3 with students to discover an experience that Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah had in common.

  • Why might it be important to have the testimonies of these three prophets near the beginning of the Book of Mormon?

  • According to 2 Nephi 11:3, how does God establish His word? Why do you think it is important to have multiple witnesses of God’s word?

  • Nephi said that in addition to providing witnesses, the Lord “proveth all his words” (2 Nephi 11:3). How has the Lord helped you see the truthfulness of His words?

  • When else has the Lord provided three witnesses?

To help the students connect Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah—three witnesses in the Book of Mormon—to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris—the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon—invite a student to read the section heading to Doctrine and Covenants 17. Invite another student to read Doctrine and Covenants 17:1–4. Encourage students to cross-reference 2 Nephi 11:1–3 with Doctrine and Covenants 17:1–4.

Invite a student to read the statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on pages 72–73 in the student manual. Encourage students to listen for reasons that it is important to have the writings of Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah near the beginning of the Book of Mormon.

  • According to Elder Holland, why is it important to have these writings of Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah? (To establish the Book of Mormon as another testament of Jesus Christ and to lay the foundation for teaching the doctrine of Christ in the Book of Mormon.)

  • How can the Book of Mormon strengthen people’s testimony of Jesus Christ? How has it strengthened yours?

2 Nephi 11:4–8. All Things That God Has Given Us Typify Jesus Christ

Invite students to read 2 Nephi 11:4 silently. Suggest that they mark the word typifying. Ask if they know the meaning of the word. You may want to have them read Moses 6:63 and the explanation of the word typify on page 73 in the student manual. Ask them to underline key words in that explanation, such as represent, reminder, emblem, and instruct.

  • Why do you think the Lord uses types, or symbols, to teach His people?

  • Why is it helpful for us to be aware of this teaching method?

  • What types of Jesus Christ have you seen in the scriptures? in your life? in the world around you?

Have students silently read 2 Nephi 11:4–7. Encourage them to underline important truths about Jesus Christ that they can learn from Nephi’s testimony. Ask students to divide into pairs. Invite them to compare what they marked about the Savior. Then ask each pair of students to discuss the following questions:

  • Which of these statements about Jesus Christ are the most important to you? Why?

Read 2 Nephi 11:8 with the class. Explain that this verse serves as a preview of Isaiah’s words.

  • According to this verse, why did Nephi share the words of Isaiah with us?

Explain that 2 Nephi 12–24 and 27 contain words of Isaiah. Nephi’s testimony of the Savior in 2 Nephi 11 prepares us to look for types of Jesus Christ in Isaiah’s teachings. Nephi’s testimony also prepares us to understand Isaiah’s teachings concerning the Lord’s work in the latter days.

Bear your testimony of Isaiah’s teachings in the Book of Mormon. Encourage students to look for ways these teachings can change their lives and help them prepare for the great events of the last days.

2 Nephi 12–14. God Will Bring Judgment and Peace in the Last Days

Before class, prepare the following chart on the board or in a handout. Include the scripture references, the names given to each group in the scriptures (in quotation marks), and the italicized description of each group, but do not include the answers (the numbered lists). Instead, leave space to write in each column.

Judgment and Peace

2 Nephi 12:5; 13:1–15

2 Nephi 13:16–26

2 Nephi 14:2–6

“House of Jacob”

The house of Israel, including Judah and Jerusalem (see 2 Nephi 13 chapter heading)

  1. 1.

    Famine (13:1)

  2. 2.

    Removal of leaders and honorable men (13:2–4)

  3. 3.

    Disrespect for one another (13:5)

  4. 4.

    Jerusalem will be ruined (13:8)

  5. 5.

    Judah will fall (13:8)

  6. 6.

    The wicked and the righteous will be rewarded for their actions (13:9–11)

  7. 7.

    The Lord will judge them (13:13–15)

“Daughters of Zion”

Members of the Church who become prideful and worldly

  1. 1.

    “The Lord will discover their secret parts” (13:17; guide students to Isaiah 3:17, footnote a, which explains that this is a Hebrew expression meaning “put them to shame”)

  2. 2.

    The Lord will take away the things with which they have adorned themselves (13:18–24)

  3. 3.

    Men will be killed in war (13:25)

  4. 4.

    The people will become desolate (13:26)

“Them that are escaped”

Righteous members of the house of Israel in the millennial day

  1. 1.

    They will be beautiful and glorious (14:2)

  2. 2.

    The fruit of the earth will be excellent for their sake (14:2)

  3. 3.

    They will be called holy (14:3)

  4. 4.

    The Lord will have washed away their filth (14:4)

  5. 5.

    The Lord will bless them with protection and refuge (14:5–6)

Explain that the class is going to examine the consequences of the actions of three groups of people. Although these groups are described in symbolic language, they can be identified in a general sense from the descriptions Isaiah provides and from Nephi’s commentary in 2 Nephi 25–26 and 28–30. When Isaiah speaks to the house of Jacob in 2 Nephi 12–13, he is speaking to all the house of Israel, in his day and in the latter days. In his prophecy about the daughters of Zion, he refers to members of the Church who become prideful and worldly. When he speaks of “them that are escaped” (2 Nephi 14:2), he refers to members of the house of Israel who, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and their own righteousness, will escape the judgments that come upon the wicked.

Divide the class in half. Ask one half to examine 2 Nephi 12:5 and 13:1–15, and ask the other half to examine 2 Nephi 13:16–26. Invite the first group to identify the judgments that will befall the house of Jacob, and invite the second group to identify the judgments that will befall the daughters of Zion. (The students in the “Daughters of Zion” group may benefit from referring to the corresponding footnotes in Isaiah 3:16–26 of the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible.) Point out that the daughters of Zion are part of the house of Jacob, but they are mentioned specifically in these verses. After sufficient time, ask each group to list their discoveries under the appropriate heading. (The third column will be filled in later.) Possible answers are provided in the chart on page 38.

After students have examined 2 Nephi 13, invite a student to read 2 Nephi 14:2–6 aloud. (Students might ask if 2 Nephi 14:1 is a prophecy about plural marriage. Explain that the ratio of seven women to one man is a result of the war described in 2 Nephi 13:25, not a reinstitution of the practice of plural marriage.) As a class, identify the blessings that will be enjoyed by the people mentioned in 2 Nephi 14:2–6. Ask students to list these blessings in the third column of the chart, as shown on page 38.

To help students liken these prophecies to themselves, ask some or all of the following questions:

  • Isaiah said that one reason the house of Jacob would suffer such terrible consequences was that their land was “full of idols” (2 Nephi 12:8). What are some forms of idolatry today? (For some examples, see Romans 1:25; Helaman 6:31.)

  • Isaiah prophesied of the blessings that would come to “them that are escaped of Israel” (2 Nephi 14:2) and to those whose filth has been washed away by the Lord (see 2 Nephi 14:4). In what ways is overcoming temptation like an escape? In what ways does the Lord help us escape?

  • Nephi said that the words of Isaiah could help his people “lift up their hearts and rejoice for all men” (2 Nephi 11:8). What do you see in 2 Nephi 12–14 that can lead us to rejoice?

  • Isaiah prophesied of daughters of Zion who would allow themselves to be overcome by the world. How can we guard against worldly attitudes in our lives?

  • What are some blessings in the Millennium that we can also enjoy now?

  • How can the words of Isaiah help us as we make important decisions in our lives? How can the words of Isaiah help us live in the perilous times of the last days?

Bear testimony about how Isaiah’s message helps us prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Help students understand that there is no need to fear the events of the last days (see 1 Nephi 22:17). There is safety and peace in keeping the commandments and hearkening to the voice of the Lord.

2 Nephi 12:1–3; 15:13–30. Isaiah Prophesied That the Lord Would Lift an Ensign to Gather Israel

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 15:13. Explain that the children of Israel became physically captive to other nations when they rejected the Lord.

  • How was Israel’s spiritual state like captivity?

  • How do our sins make us captive? How can we be released from this captivity?

After describing some of the consequences of Israel’s apostasy, Isaiah gives specific warnings. Read 2 Nephi 15:18–23 to the class. Explain that in this passage, Isaiah repeats the word wo, which refers to sorrow and suffering. Each time you read the word wo, stop briefly. Encourage students to mark that word and the key phrases that describe conditions that will bring sorrow and suffering.

  • What are some of the actions and attitudes mentioned in 2 Nephi 15:20–25 for which the Lord is angry with His people?

  • What can we do to avoid becoming like the people described in verses 20–23?

Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would lift an ensign to gather Israel. On the board, write the following definition, taken from An American Dictionary of the English Language, which was compiled by Noah Webster and published in 1828:

Ensign: “a signal to assemble or to give notice”

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 15:26.

  • How does this ensign relate to the house of Israel?

You might want to have students read the statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith on page 78 in the student manual.

Isaiah prophesied that people would “come with speed swiftly” in response to the ensign. Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 15:27–29, which is Isaiah’s description of how that would happen. To help students understand this prophecy, have them read the explanation by Elder LeGrand Richards on pages 78–79 in the student manual.

  • How have you seen the fulfillment of this prophecy in your life? in the lives of family members and friends?

  • What can we do to help the prophecy continue to be fulfilled?

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 12:2–3.

  • In what ways do you feel these verses relate to the prophecy that the Lord would lift an ensign to gather Israel? (To help students answer this question, you may want to have them read the statement by Elder LeGrand Richards on page 74 in the student manual—also available on the companion DVD A).

Read the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), the 15th President of the Church (also available on the companion DVD B):

“Ever since the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated, we have interpreted that scripture from Isaiah … as applying to this sacred house of the Lord. And of this place, since the day of its dedication, an ever-increasing number from across the world have said in effect, ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He might teach us of His ways, that we might walk in His paths.’

“I believe and testify that it is the mission of this Church to stand as an ensign to the nations and a light to the world. We have had placed upon us a great, all-encompassing mandate from which we cannot shrink nor turn aside. We accept that mandate and are determined to fulfill it, and with the help of God we shall do it” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2003, 86; or Ensign, Nov. 2003, 82–83).

  • How do latter-day temples fulfill the prophecy in 2 Nephi 12:2–3?

  • How do temples help the Church “stand as an ensign to the nations”?

2 Nephi 16. Isaiah Is Called to Serve as a Prophet

Invite students to read the chapter heading for 2 Nephi 16. Ask them to identify the events in this chapter. You may want to write the following on the board:

Isaiah sees the Lord.

verses 1–4

Isaiah’s sins are forgiven.

verses 5–7

Isaiah is called to warn, cry repentance, and prophesy.

verses 8–13

Ask a student to read 2 Nephi 16:8 aloud. Then invite students to read Abraham 3:27 silently.

  • What significance do you find in the fact that Isaiah’s words were the same as the Savior’s words in the premortal council?

To emphasize the importance of Isaiah’s call and his stature among other prophets, share the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“Isaiah is by every standard the messianic prophet of the Old Testament and as such is the most penetrating prophetic voice in that record. He, more than any other witness in the Old World, saw and wrote and prophesied of the Savior’s coming both in the meridian of time and again in the latter days. He is quoted more often in the New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and contemporary documents such as the Dead Sea Scrolls than any other Old World prophet. …

“It would seem even from Isaiah’s name (‘Jehovah saves’ or ‘The Lord is salvation’) that he was prepared at birth—or, more accurately, from before birth—to testify of the Messiah, bearing witness of the divinity of Christ in anticipation of both his first and second comings” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 75–76, 77–78).

  • What did Elder Holland teach about the significance of Isaiah’s life and ministry?

  • What was Isaiah foreordained to do?

Bear your testimony of Isaiah’s calling as a prophet of God.