Abraham 3: The Premortal Life and Council in Heaven

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 9–10

After the Lord commanded Abraham to go to Egypt, He taught him truths about the planets, the sun, the moon, and the stars, all of which were important symbols in the Egyptian religion of the time. Abraham used these truths to teach the Egyptians the gospel by building upon what they already knew (notice the explanation of facsimile 3 on page 41 of the Pearl of Great Price). Through a discussion of heavenly bodies and their motions, Abraham taught the Egyptians that the God he worshiped is greater than all other things in creation, because He is the Creator.

Understanding the Scriptures

Abraham 3:22–28

Intelligences that were organized (v. 22)Spirit children of Heavenly Father 
Prove (v. 25)Test 
First estate (vv. 26, 28)Premortal life 
Second estate (v. 26)Earth life 
Son of Man (v. 27)Jesus Christ 

Premortal world

Leaders are chosen in the first estate.


Mortal birth



Chosen leaders are tested in the second estate.

Abraham 3:22–23—Chosen before Birth

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 365). In other words, not only was Abraham chosen for certain assignments before birth, but so were you (see D&C 138:53–56).

Abraham 3:27–28—The Premortal Council in Heaven

For a more complete idea of what happened as part of the premortal council in heaven, read also Revelation 12:7–11; Doctrine and Covenants 76:25–28; and Moses 4:1–4.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A and then do two of the other three activities (B–D) as you study Abraham 3:22–28.

Activity A Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—Abraham 3:22–23

  1. 1.

    Write what Abraham learned about premortal life.

  2. 2.

    Read Doctrine and Covenants 138:53–56, which is part of a vision President Joseph F. Smith had of the spirit world. What information does the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants add to the revelation in Abraham 3:22–23? You may want to cross-reference these two scriptures to each other by highlighting the references in your footnotes or by writing the reference of one in the margin of the other.

  3. 3.

    In addition to what you read in Abraham 3 and Doctrine and Covenants 138, consider the statement from the Prophet Joseph Smith in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section, and describe how these doctrines of the premortal life affect you and how you feel knowing these things.

Activity B iconLook for Important Words

  1. 1.

    Identify the words in Abraham 3:22–23 that tell who God would choose to be leaders on earth and when they were chosen. Write the words in your notebook; you may also want to circle them in your scriptures.

  2. 2.

    Find the phrase that most likely describes Jesus Christ in Abraham 3:24. Write it in your notebook and tell why that phrase describes Him well.

Activity C iconWrite a Question

Write an important question people may ask that you think can be answered by Abraham 3:24–26.

Activity D iconApply the Doctrine

Choose one of the truths taught to Abraham in verses 22–28 and write about how it should, could, or will encourage you to live more righteously.