Before the miraculous occurrences recorded in 3 Nephi 17–19, Jesus Christ began teaching about the fulfillment of His covenants with Israel (see 3 Nephi 15–16). 3 Nephi 20–22 contain the continuation of these teachings (see 3 Nephi 20:10). You can help students see how the events prophesied in these chapters, including the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the establishment of the Church in the last days, are evidence that the Lord’s kindness will not depart from His people. The gathering of the Lord’s people in the last days reveals that He will have mercy on them with “everlasting kindness” (see 3 Nephi 22:8–10) and that He will bring them “home to the land of their inheritance” (3 Nephi 21:28).
Heavenly Father promised He would gather Israel in the last days (see 3 Nephi 20:11–29).
The Book of Mormon is instrumental in the gathering of Israel (see 3 Nephi 21:1–21).
The Lord remembers His covenant people with mercy and everlasting kindness (see 3 Nephi 22:1–13).
God’s people and kingdom will triumph in the end (see 3 Nephi 22:14–17).
Ask students to scan 3 Nephi 19. Invite one student to describe the experience the Nephites had with prayer in the presence of the Savior.
Ask students to read 3 Nephi 20:1 silently.
What did Jesus ask the people to do after their special experience with prayer?
What does it mean to pray in your heart?
Share the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Prayer is so essential a part of revelation that without it the veil may remain closed to you. Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind, in your heart. Pray on your knees” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 76; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 59).
As the people in the multitude listened to the Savior’s teachings, in what ways do you think they benefited from having a prayer in their hearts?
What blessings could come to you from remembering to keep a prayer in your heart?
What has helped you keep a prayer in your heart?
A few days before class, invite a student to prepare a brief presentation on the scattering of Israel. Ask the student to use the “Brief History of the Scattering of Israel” on page 415 in the student manual. Ask the student to put the graphics from page 415 on the board as part of his or her presentation.
Make photocopies of the document titled “The Gathering of Israel,” on page 416 in the student manual. Bring the copies for students who do not bring their student manuals to class.
During class, inform students that they will now see a presentation on important background information for 3 Nephi 20–22. Then ask the student to make his or her presentation.
After the presentation, invite a student to read 3 Nephi 20:11–13.
What did the Savior ask the people to remember about scattered Israel?
Divide the class into five pairs or groups. Give each student a copy of “The Gathering of Israel” (or ask them to turn to page 416 in the student manual). Ask each group to discuss a different section of the handout. Ask the groups to prepare summaries of what they learn. (If the class is not big enough to be divided into five pairs or groups, either assign more than one section to some groups or leave some sections unassigned.)
After sufficient time for study and discussion, ask each group to teach the class what they have learned. Encourage them to be brief. Invite the other students to listen carefully and to take notes on their copies of the handout. Add brief comments to clarify points as needed.
Ask a student to read 3 Nephi 20:13.
What two promises are made in this verse?
What is the relationship between these promises?
Invite a student to come to the front of the class. Tell the student you are going to ask a series of questions that he or she is to answer as if he or she has amnesia (a complete loss of memory). Ask questions such as the following:
Who are you? What is your name? Where are you from? Where are you going? Where is your family?
After this role play, lead a discussion using the following questions:
What problems would amnesia create for you?
How might people help an amnesiac remember his or her identity?
Invite a student to read the second paragraph of the introduction to chapter 44 in the student manual.
According to this paragraph, how might some members of the house of Israel be described as having “spiritual amnesia”?
Read the following definition of the scattering and gathering of Israel:
“Why was Israel scattered? … Our Israelite forebears were scattered because they rejected the gospel, defiled the priesthood, forsook the church, and departed from the kingdom. …
“What, then, is involved in the gathering of Israel? The gathering of Israel consists in believing and accepting and living in harmony with all that the Lord once offered his ancient chosen people. It consists of having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, of repenting, of being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and of keeping the commandments of God. It consists of believing the gospel, joining the Church, and coming into the kingdom. It consists of receiving the holy priesthood, being endowed in holy places with power from on high, and receiving all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, through the ordinance of celestial marriage. And it may also consist of assembling to an appointed place or land of worship” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 515).
Help students see the personal participation of Heavenly Father and the Savior in the gathering of Israel. Read the following verses, and ask students to find words or phrases that indicate the role of the Father and the Son in the gathering. After each verse, invite students to share what they have found.
3 Nephi 20:18 (“I will gather my people together as a man gathereth his sheaves.”)
3 Nephi 20:21 (“I will establish my people, O house of Israel.”)
3 Nephi 20:26 (“The Father … sent me to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities; and this because ye are the children of the covenant.”)
3 Nephi 20:29 (“I will remember the covenant which I have made with my people; … that I would gather them together in mine own due time, that I would give unto them again the land of their fathers.”)
3 Nephi 20:39 (“My people shall know my name.”)
Invite students to share their thoughts or feelings about the love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for all people. Invite students to open their hearts to promptings about how they can help Heavenly Father gather His children.
What sign did the Lord say would show that the gathering of Israel had begun?
In addition to being a sign of the gathering, how does the Book of Mormon help people gather to the Lord’s Church?
Have students turn to the title page of the Book of Mormon. Ask a student to read the second paragraph.
What does the Book of Mormon declare to members of the house of Israel?
Have a student read the following statement by Elder C. Scott Grow of the Seventy, explaining the role of the Book of Mormon in the latter-day gathering:
“Jesus Christ gave us the Book of Mormon as the instrument to gather scattered Israel [see 3 Nephi 21:7]. …
“The Book of Mormon is its own witness to the people of Latin America and of all nations. Its very coming forth in these latter days bears witness that God has once again begun to gather scattered Israel. …
“… The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is the means whereby people from all nations shall be gathered into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2005, 35–36; or Ensign, Nov. 2005, 35; italics in original).
How has the Book of Mormon helped you come unto Christ?
How can we use the Book of Mormon as we participate with Heavenly Father in the gathering of His children?
Have students read 3 Nephi 21:9–11. As they read, explain that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles identified the “servant” in these verses as Joseph Smith (see Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon , 287–88).
What consequence will come to those who reject the Book of Mormon and the words of Jesus Christ as revealed through Joseph Smith?
How can these verses help us understand 3 Nephi 21:11?
Ask a student to read 3 Nephi 22:5–6. Ensure that students understand that in these verses, the phrase “thy husband” refers to the Savior and the phrase “a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth” refers to scattered Israel.
Ask a student to read 3 Nephi 22:7–10.
What does this teach us about the Savior and His role in the gathering?
Invite a student to draw a tent on the board.
Have a student read 3 Nephi 22:2.
How could you enlarge a tent?
What is meant by “lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes”?
Explain that anciently, when people wanted to make a small tent larger, they pulled up the stakes, moved them farther from the center pole, and added more stakes—thus creating additional space beneath the tent. This is what was meant by lengthening the cords and strengthening the stakes.
Read the following insight from President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), the 13th President of the Church:
“The term stake is a symbolic expression. Picture in your mind a great tent held up by cords extended to many stakes that are firmly secured in the ground. The prophets likened latter-day Zion to a great tent encompassing the earth. The tent was supported by cords fastened to stakes. Those stakes, of course, are various geographical organizations spread out over the earth. Presently, Israel is being gathered to the various stakes of Zion” (“Strengthen Thy Stakes,” Ensign, Jan. 1991, 2).
How are stakes of the Church like the stakes of an ancient tent?
Invite a student to read the statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley on pages 329–30 in the student manual. This statement is also available on the companion DVD A. Ask students if they have ever had to defend their faith from attacks by those who oppose the Church and its teachings. Invite a few students to briefly share their experiences.
Tell students that 3 Nephi 22:14–17 contains information concerning these kinds of experiences.
What principles can you find in 3 Nephi 22:14 that help us deal with opposition to the Church?
What promises are given in 3 Nephi 22:15, 17? How can these promises help us when we face opposition?
Bear testimony that the Lord blesses us through our challenges and that the enemies of the Church will never succeed in their efforts to destroy it.