Hebrews 1–2declares that Jesus Christ is superior to the angels. Hebrews 3–4compares Jesus to Moses, the prophet most revered by the Jews. Hebrews 5–6teaches us that Christ, as a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, is greater than the Mosaic high priest of the Levitical order. Look for teachings about faith, mercy, grace, and gaining perfection.
Prayerfully study Hebrews 3–6and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
Jesus Christ is greater than any prophet (see Hebrews 3:1–6).
The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 383–85.
Suggestions for Teaching
Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Hebrews 3–6.
Hebrews 3–4. Those who do not harden their hearts against the Savior will enter into His rest in this life and in the life to come.
Ask a student to share with the class an important goal she or he wants to accomplish in this life. Ask the student how difficult it will be to obtain that goal. List some of the steps that may be required to reach that goal, and discuss them as a class. Ask the student:
Whose responsibility is it to obtain that goal?
If you do not meet the requirements for that goal, do you think you should be given the reward anyway? Why or why not?
Write the phrase enter into the rest of the Lord on the board. Have students read Hebrews 3:8–19looking for the group of people who were refused entrance into the Lord’s rest. Ask:
What does this rest refer to? (The fulness of God’s glory; see D&C 84:24.)
What sins caused them to forfeit this privilege?
What sins did Paul warn the people of his day against so they would not incur the same punishment?
How do you think the warnings in verses 12–15 apply to us?
Explain that the righteous enter into a state of rest called paradise when they die, but that we can also receive the Lord’s rest in this life. Share the following statement by President Joseph F. Smith:
“The ancient prophets speak of ‘entering into God’s rest’; what does it mean? To my mind, it means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting for something else, we are not disturbed by every wind of doctrine, or by the cunning and craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive. … The man who has reached that degree of faith in God that all doubt and fear have been cast from him, he has entered into ‘God’s rest,’ … rest from doubt, from fear, from apprehension of danger, rest from the religious turmoil of the world” (Gospel Doctrine, 58; see also Matthew 11:28–30).
Why is it worthwhile to pursue the goal of entering into the rest of the Lord, during and after this life?
Whose responsibility is it to obtain that goal?
If you do not fulfill the requirements to enter into the Lord’s rest, do you think you should be given that blessing anyway? Why or why not?
Read Hebrews 4:1. What did Paul encourage others not to do? (Fall short of entering into the rest of God.)
How might you feel if you were to fall short of this important goal?
Have students read Hebrews 4:2–12silently. Invite them to mark the phrases they feel will give them strength and direction in seeking the Lord’s rest. Invite several students to share with the class the phrases they have marked.
Read Hebrews 4:14–16. Help students understand that Jesus Christ has the power to help each of us obtain His rest. Have students read Matthew 11:28–30; Jacob 1:7–8; Alma 12:34; and Doctrine and Covenants 59:23looking for ways we can “come boldly unto the throne of grace” and obtain the power that Jesus Christ offers. Encourage students to seek the peace, joy, and rest that come to those who come unto Christ.
Hebrews 4:12–16. The Lord offers us mercy and grace to cleanse us and enable us to return to Him.
Before class write the words mercy and grace on the board. Tell students: Imagine that you are magically transported to a faraway kingdom you have never heard of before. The people are interesting and friendly, but you discover that each day at noon everyone in the kingdom is required to stop what they are doing and join in playing the national anthem on special trumpets. When it is discovered that you do not have a trumpet, you are arrested, taken before the king, and informed that the penalty for not playing is death.
Ask students: What would you say to the king? Show students the words on the board and ask: Which of these would you hope the king would offer you, since you did not know the law?
Tell students: To your great relief, the king does offer you mercy and forgives you for not having a trumpet. Point to the word grace on the board. Ask: What is the difference between mercy and grace? To help answer this question, read with students the definition of grace in the (Bible Dictionary (p. 697).
Read Hebrews 4:12–16. Discuss how the Lord not only forgives us when we repent but also helps us change our natures so we are better able to keep the commandments. Make copies of the following statements and give them to students as a handout. Review them in class and encourage students to study them at home.
Explain that mercy and grace work together for the blessing and exaltation of mankind. If we have faith in Christ and repent, Heavenly Father will extend His mercy and forgive and cleanse us (see D&C 110:5). By His grace we are able to “put off the natural man” and become Saints. All this comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 3:19; Alma 33:8–11). Read and discuss the following statement by Elder Gene R. Cook, a member of the Seventy:
“Perhaps some of us have not received or known how to use the great gift of grace the Father has given to us through the Atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ. …
“Let me share with you five principles that may help us obtain that divine intervention in our own lives. …
“The first principle is faith. …
“It is evident that this grace, or enabling power, is accessed by faith. No wonder faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel. …
“Repentance is the second principle. The grace of the Lord through the Atonement can both cleanse us of sin and assist us in perfecting ourselves through our trials, sicknesses, and even character defects. We are both sanctified and justified through the grace of the Lord (see D&C 20:30–31). …
“The third principle is humility. ‘But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble’ (James 4:6). …
“Doing all in yourown power is the fourth principle. …
“… For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23).
“… What a glorious principle to understand: the Lord’s assistance to us—whether we have strong faith or weak faith; whether a man, a woman, or a child—is not based just on what we know, how strong we are, or who we are, but more upon our giving all that we can give and doing all that we can do in our present circumstance. Once one has given all he can, then the Lord, through His grace, will assist him (see D&C 123:17). …
“The fifth principle, keeping the commandments, surely is a condition for receiving the grace of the Lord: ‘If you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness … ; therefore, … you shall receive grace for grace’ (D&C 93:20; see also 93:28).
“To obtain grace, one does not have to be perfect, but he does have to be trying to keep the commandments the best that he can. Then the Lord will allow him to receive that power” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 98–100; or Ensign, May 1993, 79–81).
Hebrews 5:4(Scripture Mastery). Authorized priesthood holders must be called of God.
Show students a diploma, certificate, or license of some sort. Ask:
What is required to receive one of these?
What is required to issue one?
How would you like to be operated on by a doctor who printed his own license without ever going to medical school?
Tell students that the same principle applies to priesthood holders. Have them read Hebrews 5:1–4looking for what is required for a person to be a legitimate priesthood holder. Have them read Exodus 28:1to learn how Aaron was called. Read the following by Elder Boyd K. Packer:
“The priesthood cannot be conferred like a diploma. It cannot be handed to you as a certificate. It cannot be delivered to you as a message or sent to you in a letter. It comes only by proper ordination. An authorized holder of the priesthood has to be there. He must place his hands upon your head and ordain you” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1981, 46–47; or Ensign, Nov. 1981, 32).
Assure students that true priesthood authority and power is found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.