Lesson 37: 2 Nephi 27

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2012


Introduction

Referring often to the words of Isaiah, Nephi prophesied that the Lord would “do a marvelous work and a wonder” in the last days. This great work would be the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. A focal point of Nephi’s prophecy was the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Nephi foretold that witnesses would see the Book of Mormon and testify of its truthfulness. He also testified of the fundamental role the Book of Mormon would play in the Lord’s work in the latter days—that it would be a miraculous gift to the world. (Note: 2 Nephi 27 closely parallels Isaiah 29. In the Latter-day Saint edition of the Bible, the footnotes in Isaiah 29 offer helpful insights for the study of both chapters.)

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Nephi 27:1–5

Nephi prophesies that in the last days the earth will be filled with wickedness

Display the following items: a container of deodorant, a tube of toothpaste, and a bar or container of soap. Explain that each item is intended to be a solution to a problem. Ask students to identify the problem each item is intended to solve. (You may choose to use other items that could be considered solutions to specific problems.)

Explain that Nephi’s prophecy in 2 Nephi 27 tells of problems that would exist in our day. He taught that people would stumble spiritually because of their iniquity, that they would suffer from spiritual blindness, and that they would reject the prophets. Nephi also prophesied about what God would do to solve these problems.

Invite a few students to take turns reading 2 Nephi 27:1–5 aloud. Ask the class to look for words and phrases that describe some problems of the last days. Ask a few students to share phrases they have identified. To help students analyze these phrases, you may want to ask the following questions:

  • What do you think it means to be “drunken with iniquity”?

  • In 2 Nephi 27:3, some people in the last days are likened to a hungry man who dreams of eating or a thirsty man who dreams of drinking but then awakens and feels his soul is empty. What can we learn from this? (Eating or drinking in a dream gives no lasting satisfaction and accomplishes nothing, since hunger or thirst remains after the dream. Likewise, those who “fight against Mount Zion” will have no lasting satisfaction, nor will they accomplish anything meaningful.)

  • What do you think the phrase “ye have closed your eyes” means?

To help students identify gospel truths in 2 Nephi 27:1–5, invite them to summarize what they have learned from these verses. Write their answers on the board. Make sure students understand that in the last days, many people will be full of iniquity and will reject the prophets.

  • Why do you think it is important to know of this prophecy and its fulfillment?

2 Nephi 27:6–23

Nephi prophesies of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon

Invite students to read 2 Nephi 27:6–7 silently. Ask them to look for something the Lord would provide to help solve people’s spiritual problems in the last days.

  • What would the Lord provide?

  • What would the book contain?

  • What book do you think these verses are describing? (To help students answer this question, you might suggest that they look up the scripture references listed in 2 Nephi 27:6, footnote b. You may also want to explain that the phrase “them which have slumbered” refers to the deceased prophets who kept the records that became the Book of Mormon.)

Hold up a copy of the Book of Mormon. Explain that the Lord brought forth this book to help correct problems in the last days and to bring light to a darkened world. The Lord revealed to ancient prophets details concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Nephi recorded these details in 2 Nephi 27. Explain that a similar prophecy is found in Isaiah 29. (You may want to explain that some people have challenged the Book of Mormon by questioning why the Bible does not mention it. Point out that the prophecy in Isaiah 29 shows that the Bible does indeed testify of the Book of Mormon.)

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 27:12–14 aloud. Ask the class to look for who Nephi said would be permitted to see the book.

  • Who were the three witnesses who were allowed to see the Book of Mormon “by the power of God”? (Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. See “The Testimony of Three Witnesses,” Book of Mormon.)

Point out that Nephi mentioned “a few” others who would also be permitted to view the book.

  • Who do you think these other witnesses were? (You may need to remind students of the eight additional witnesses of the Book of Mormon. See “The Testimony of Eight Witnesses,” Book of Mormon.)

Point out that 2 Nephi 27:14 mentions that the Lord would “establish his word” in “the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good.”

  • What do you think Nephi meant when he said that witnesses will establish God’s word? (Those who receive and accept the word of God through the Book of Mormon will share it with others and testify of its truthfulness.)

  • Who might these witnesses be?

  • To help students appreciate that they can also be witnesses of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, you may want to invite them to write their names in the margin next to 2 Nephi 27:14. How can each member of the Church, including you, help establish the truth of the Book of Mormon?

  • When have you shared your testimony of the Book of Mormon with others?

In an earlier lesson, you may have encouraged students to share their testimonies of the Book of Mormon with someone else. If you did, follow up on that assignment by inviting several students to share what they have done. Encourage students to keep looking for opportunities to share their testimonies of the Book of Mormon with others, including those of other faiths.

Copy the following chart on the board. (To save time, you might want to do this before class begins.)

Nephi’s prophecy of what the man would do

The man’s name

The fulfillment of the prophecy

Joseph Smith—History 1:63–65

1st Man (“not learned”)

2 Nephi 27:9, 15, 19

   

2nd Man (“another”)

2 Nephi 27:15, 17

   

3rd Man (“learned”)

2 Nephi 27:15–18

   

Divide students into pairs. Explain that each partnership will study a prophecy regarding the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as well as the fulfillment of that prophecy. Have students copy the chart in their scripture study journals or class notebooks and write the answers using the provided scripture references. (You may want to explain that the word characters, found in Joseph Smith—History 1:63–65, refers to the writing engraved on the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated.) When students have finished, invite them to share their answers with the class.

  • According to 2 Nephi 27:15 and Joseph Smith—History 1:64, who is the learned man to whom Martin Harris took the words of the book? (Charles Anthon.)

  • In what ways might someone without a formal education, like Joseph Smith, be better suited to translate the Book of Mormon than a scholar like Charles Anthon?

Have students read 2 Nephi 27:20–21 silently, looking for a phrase that is repeated in each verse. (“I am able to do mine own work.”)

  • What does the phrase “I am able to do mine own work” mean to you?

  • How is the Restoration of the gospel and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon a confirmation that God is able to do His own work?

  • What are some principles that are taught by these verses? (As students share their ideas, emphasize that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is one way God will accomplish His work in the latter days.)

  • How does the fulfillment of this prophecy strengthen your testimony of the Book of Mormon and its role in the Restoration of the Lord’s Church?

2 Nephi 27:24–35

Nephi prophesies of the positive impact of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon

Read 2 Nephi 27:24–26 aloud while students follow along in their scriptures.

  • Do you recall hearing these words before? If so, where? (If students have trouble answering, explain that the Lord used similar words when He spoke to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove; see Joseph Smith—History 1:19.)

Hold up one of the objects you displayed at the beginning of this lesson, and remind students that it was created to solve a particular problem.

  • In 2 Nephi 27:25, what problems does the Lord say will exist among the people of the latter days? (You might want to write students’ answers on the board.)

Remind students of the other spiritual problems of the latter days mentioned in 2 Nephi 27:5. (You might want to add iniquity, spiritual blindness, and rejecting the prophets to the list on the board.)

  • How do the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ help solve these problems?

Ask students to read 2 Nephi 27:29–30, 34–35 silently, looking for ways the Lord said the restored gospel and the Book of Mormon would bless the people of the latter days. Invite a student to list these blessings on the board.

  • According to 2 Nephi 27:29, the Book of Mormon will help “the eyes of the blind … see out of obscurity and out of darkness.” What do you think this means?

Help students understand that the Book of Mormon and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ bring joy and understanding to those who study and accept them. Encourage students to seek solutions to their challenges in the Book of Mormon and to share their testimonies of the Book of Mormon with others.

Commentary and Background Information

2 Nephi 27:1–2. “Iniquity and all manner of abominations”

President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles expressed his concern about the widespread moral decay and spiritual danger that surrounds us in the last days:

“I know of nothing in the history of the Church or in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now.

“Words of profanity, vulgarity, and blasphemy are heard everywhere. Unspeakable wickedness and perversion were once hidden in dark places; now they are in the open, even accorded legal protection.

“At Sodom and Gomorrah these things were localized. Now they are spread across the world, and they are among us” (“The One Pure Defense” [address to CES religious educators, Feb. 6, 2004], 4, si.lds.org).

2 Nephi 27:10–11. “For the book shall be sealed”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of scriptures yet to be revealed:

“Many more scriptural writings will yet come to us, including those of Enoch (see D&C 107:57), all of the writings of the Apostle John (see Ether 4:16), the records of the lost tribes of Israel (see 2 Nephi 29:13), and the approximately two-thirds of the Book of Mormon plates that were sealed: ‘And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth’ (2 Nephi 27:11). Today we carry convenient quadruple combinations of the scriptures, but one day, since more scriptures are coming, we may need to pull little red wagons brimful with books” (A Wonderful Flood of Light [1990], 18).

2 Nephi 27:14. Witnesses will establish the Lord’s word

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared his unwavering witness of the Book of Mormon:

“I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work … until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies. …

“… I was not among the Nephite crowd who touched the wounds of the resurrected Lord. … But my testimony of this record and the peace it brings to the human heart is as binding and unequivocal as was theirs. Like them, ‘[I] give [my name] unto the world, to witness unto the world that which [I] have seen.’ And like them, ‘[I] lie not, God bearing witness of it.’ [“The Testimony of Eight Witnesses,” Book of Mormon; emphasis added.]

“I ask that my testimony of the Book of Mormon and all that it implies, given today under my own oath and office, be recorded by men on earth and angels in heaven. … I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth” (“Safety for the Soul,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 89–90).

Supplemental Teaching Ideas

2 Nephi 27:25–26. “A marvelous work and a wonder”

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 27:25–26 aloud. Point out the phrase “a marvelous work and a wonder.” You might want to suggest that students mark this phrase in their scriptures. Ask a student to read the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley, which identifies some of the remarkable events that constitute the marvelous work and wonder about which Nephi prophesied:

“That glorious day dawned in the year 1820, when a boy, earnest and with faith, walked into a grove of trees and lifted his voice in prayer, seeking that wisdom which he felt he so much needed.

“There came in response a glorious manifestation. God the Eternal Father and the risen Lord Jesus Christ appeared and spoke with him. The curtains which had been closed for much of two millennia were parted to usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times. There followed the restoration of the holy priesthood, first the Aaronic, and then the Melchizedek, under the hands of those who had held it anciently. Another testament, speaking as a voice from the dust, came forth as a second witness to the reality and the divinity of the Son of God, the great Redeemer of the world.

“Keys of divine authority were restored, including those keys which were necessary to bind together families for time and eternity in a covenant which death could not destroy.

“The stone was small in the beginning. It was hardly noticeable. But it has grown steadily and is rolling forth to fill the earth” (“At the Summit of the Ages,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 74).

Have students write a few paragraphs in their scripture study journals or class notebooks about how the gospel has been a “marvelous work and a wonder” in their lives or in the lives of their family members or friends.

2 Nephi 27:34–35. “They that murmured shall learn doctrine”

Have a student read 2 Nephi 27:34–35 aloud. Direct students’ attention to the following statements: “They … that erred in spirit shall come to understanding” and “they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” Ask students what they think these statements mean. If students have trouble answering, you may need to explain that these statements mean that the Restoration of the gospel would correct the world’s false ideas about God and about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Read aloud the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

“Members of false churches who err in spirit, who think they have the truth, are brought by the Book of Mormon to the fulness of the gospel. Those who have based their beliefs on isolated verses and obscure passages, and who have wondered and murmured at seeming biblical conflicts, come to learn sound doctrine” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [1982], 174).

Invite students to respond in writing to one of the following questions:

  • What truths from the Book of Mormon have helped you? How?

  • How have you been blessed because of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the gospel?

Invite a few students to share their responses.