Lesson 97: Doctrine and Covenants 93:1–20

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013


Introduction

On May 6, 1833, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 93. This revelation will be taught in two parts. This lesson focuses on verses 1–20, in which Jesus Christ explained the purpose of the revelation: “I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness” (D&C 93:19).

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 93:1–5

Jesus Christ teaches how individuals can see His face and know that He exists

Display a picture of a well-known person your students will recognize, and ask them if they know the person’s name. (If you are unable to display a picture, write the person’s name on the board and ask students to explain who the person is and what he or she is known for.)

  • Why do so many people know who this person is?

  • Do you think it is important to know who this person is? Why?

Display a picture of Jesus Christ (you could use Jesus Christ [Gospel Art Book (2009), no. 1]; see also LDS.org), and explain that many people today do not know who He is.

Jesus Christ
  • Why do you think it is important to know who Jesus Christ is?

Testify that we are not able to achieve our full potential as children of God unless we know about Jesus Christ. Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 93 the Lord taught how we can increase our knowledge of Him and of His power to bless us now and throughout eternity. Write the following two questions on the board, leaving space for students to write their answers underneath the questions.

What must we do to gain a testimony of Jesus Christ?

What can we know about Him if we do these things?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 93:1–5 aloud. Before the student begins reading, ask half of the students to look for answers to the first question and the other half to look for answers to the second question. After the verses have been read, invite a few students to come to the board and write their answers to the questions. Then ask the class the following question:

  • How would you state the promise in verse 1 as an “if–then” principle? (Students’ responses should reflect the following principle: If we forsake our sins, come unto Christ, call on His name, obey His voice, and keep His commandments, then we shall see His face and know that He is.)

You may want to emphasize that this blessing will come in the Lord’s own time, in His own way, and according to His own will (see D&C 88:68; see also Enos 1:27).

  • How can each of the actions in Doctrine and Covenants 93:1 help us know Jesus Christ?

  • From what you learn in verse 3, what is an important doctrine to understand about the Father and the Son? (Students should identify the following doctrine: The Father and the Son are one.)

  • What does it mean that the Father and the Son are one?

Help students understand that the Father and the Son are two separate and distinct beings, each with a glorified physical body (see D&C 130:22). However, the Father and the Son are one in purpose and doctrine. They are perfectly united in bringing to pass Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation.

Point out the following phrase in Doctrine and Covenants 93:4: “The Father because he gave me of his fulness.” Then invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 93:17, 26. Ask the following questions:

  • What does it mean that Jesus Christ received a fulness of the Father? (See D&C 93:16–17, 26.)

  • How do the truths in verses 4–5 help us further understand what it means that the Father and the Son are one?

Explain that because the Father and the Son are one, we will come to know both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as we do what the Lord said in Doctrine and Covenants 93:1.

Doctrine and Covenants 93:6–20

John’s record is used to help us understand how Jesus Christ received a fulness of Heavenly Father’s glory

Explain that we can learn more about Jesus Christ by studying the information the Lord gave from John’s record in Doctrine and Covenants 93. It may be helpful to also explain that the Apostle John was a disciple of John the Baptist when Jesus Christ began His mortal ministry. In his writings, the Apostle John gave a partial account of the witness John the Baptist bore of the Savior.

Divide students into groups of four. Have each group read Doctrine and Covenants 93:6–11 together and identify the titles used to describe the Savior. Titles the students find should include “the Word, even the messenger of salvation” (verse 8), “the light and the Redeemer of the world” (verse 9), “the Spirit of truth” (verse 9), and “the Only Begotten of the Father” (verse 11).

When they have finished reading the verses, give each student a copy of the following information about the titles mentioned above. Have each group member select one of the titles and study the associated information silently. Instruct the students to prepare to explain to the rest of their group what that title means and to share their answers to the following question. You may want to display the question on the board or include it on the handout so students can refer to it as needed.

  • How does this information help you to better know, appreciate, and follow Jesus Christ?

“The Word, even the messenger of salvation”

Jesus Christ is referred to as “the Word” in John 1:1. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:

Elder Russell M. Nelson

“In the Greek language of the New Testament, that Word was Logos, or ‘expression.’ … That terminology may seem strange, but it is appropriate. We use words to convey our expression to others. So Jesus was the Word, or expression, of His Father to the world” (“Jesus the Christ: Our Master and More,” Ensign, Apr. 2000, 4). Jesus Christ is called the messenger of salvation because He declares the Father’s words to us, and those who hear and obey His message will receive salvation (see John 12:49–50).

“The light and the Redeemer of the world”

Through the Light of Christ, Jesus Christ gives life and light to all things. He is also called the Light of the World because He provides the perfect example of how all people should live. Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world because through His Atonement He paid the price for the sins of all mankind and made possible the resurrection of all people.

“The Spirit of truth”

The title “the Spirit of truth” helps us understand that Jesus Christ does not lie and that He possesses a fulness of truth (see Enos 1:6; D&C 93:26). He reveals truth to mankind (see D&C 76:7–8). This title is also used to refer to the Holy Ghost, who testifies of Jesus Christ (see John 15:26).

“The Only Begotten of the Father”

Jesus Christ is the greatest being to be born on this earth. God is the Father of the spirits of all mankind, but Jesus Christ is the only person who was born into the world as the literal Son of God in the flesh. Because Jesus Christ was born of an immortal father, He had power over death (see John 5:26). This power allowed Him to accomplish the Atonement and Resurrection for all mankind.

After the groups have had sufficient time to finish their discussions, invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 93:12–17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and identify how Jesus Christ became like His Father.

  • How did Jesus Christ become like His Father? (Students’ answers should reflect the following principle: Jesus Christ grew from grace to grace until He received a fulness of the glory of the Father.)

  • What do you think it means that Jesus Christ continued from grace to grace until He received a fulness?

Help students understand that grace is strength and power from God that allows us to obtain eternal life and exaltation. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 93:19–20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and identify the reason the Savior gave for revealing how He received the fulness of the Father.

  • According to verse 19, why did the Savior reveal how He received the fulness of the Father?

Help students see that the Savior revealed how He received a fulness so that we could “understand and know” Him and Heavenly Father and know how to worship the Father and receive of His fulness. Write the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on the board. (This statement is found in The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [1978], 568.)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“Perfect worship is emulation. We honor those whom we imitate” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie).

  • What do you think it means to worship?

  • How are we to worship Heavenly Father? (Students should express the following principle: We are to worship Heavenly Father by following the example of Jesus Christ.)

  • How was the Savior’s progression from grace to grace similar to the process of learning and progressing that we can experience?

  • What promise is given in Doctrine and Covenants 93:20 to those who follow Jesus Christ’s example and keep His commandments? (Students should express the following principle: If we keep the commandments, we can receive a fulness of the Father, as Jesus Christ has.)

Hold up the picture of the Savior that you displayed at the beginning of class.

  • Why is it important to have a testimony of Jesus Christ’s example, teachings, and Atonement?

  • What can you do to continue “from grace to grace” (D&C 93:13) and be more like Him?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Lorenzo Snow, and ask the class to think about what they want to do to be more like the Savior:

President Lorenzo Snow

“Do not expect to become perfect at once. If you do, you will be disappointed. Be better today than you were yesterday, and be better tomorrow than you are today. The temptations that perhaps partially overcome us today, let them not overcome us so far tomorrow. Thus continue to be a little better day by day; and do not let your life wear away without accomplishing good to others as well as to ourselves” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow [2012], 103).

Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals a specific way they will seek to progress and improve by following the Savior’s example.

Commentary and Background Information

Doctrine and Covenants 93:5. Jesus Christ manifested the works of the Father

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that an important purpose of Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry was to help us come to know our Father in Heaven:

“In all that Jesus came to say and do, including and especially in His atoning suffering and sacrifice, He was showing us who and what God our Eternal Father is like, how completely devoted He is to His children in every age and nation. In word and in deed Jesus was trying to reveal and make personal to us the true nature of His Father, our Father in Heaven.

“He did this at least in part because then and now all of us need to know God more fully in order to love Him more deeply and obey Him more completely. …

“So feeding the hungry, healing the sick, rebuking hypocrisy, pleading for faith—this was Christ showing us the way of the Father, He who is ‘merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness’ [Lectures on Faith (1985), 42.]” (“The Grandeur of God,” Ensign, Nov. 2003, 70, 72).

Doctrine and Covenants 93:12–16. The Father wants us to receive of His fulness

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how we can become what our Heavenly Father wants us to become and receive of His fulness:

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.

“A parable illustrates this understanding. A wealthy father knew that if he were to bestow his wealth upon a child who had not yet developed the needed wisdom and stature, the inheritance would probably be wasted. The father said to his child:

“‘All that I have I desire to give you—not only my wealth, but also my position and standing among men. That which I have I can easily give you, but that which I am you must obtain for yourself. You will qualify for your inheritance by learning what I have learned and by living as I have lived. I will give you the laws and principles by which I have acquired my wisdom and stature. Follow my example, mastering as I have mastered, and you will become as I am, and all that I have will be yours.’

“This parable parallels the pattern of heaven. The gospel of Jesus Christ promises the incomparable inheritance of eternal life, the fulness of the Father, and reveals the laws and principles by which it can be obtained” (“The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 32).

Doctrine and Covenants 93:13–14. Jesus Christ “received not of the fulness at the first”

The condescension of Jesus Christ included that even He, a member of the Godhead, pass through the veil into mortality, become like each of us, and initially not be aware of His divine identity as the Only Begotten Son of God the Father. President Lorenzo Snow explained: “When Jesus lay in the manger, a helpless infant, He knew not that He was the Son of God, and that formerly He created the earth. When the edict of Herod was issued, He knew nothing of it; He had not power to save Himself; and [Joseph and Mary] had to take Him and [flee] into Egypt to preserve Him from the effects of that edict. … He grew up to manhood, and during His progress it was revealed unto Him who He was, and for what purpose He was in the world. The glory and power He possessed before He came into the world was made known unto Him” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow [2012], 279).

Doctrine and Covenants 93:12, 19–20. Continuing from grace to grace and receiving a fulness of the glory of the Father

The following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith clarifies one aspect of growing from grace to grace until we receive a fulness:

“It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us; but that we should have a little at a time; then we can comprehend it” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 268).

He further stated:

“When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 268).