2 Nephi 6–10

Book of Mormon Teacher Resource Manual, (2004), 54–60


Introduction

Nephi included two of his brother Jacob’s sermons in 2 Nephi 6–10 as a witness of the life and mission of Jesus Christ. In the first sermon, Jacob quotes extensively from the prophet Isaiah concerning the house of Israel, as background for his own witness of the Savior’s Atonement (see 2 Nephi 6–9). In the second sermon, Jacob pleads with his people to “reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil,” a reconciliation that can only come “in and through the grace of God” (2 Nephi 10:24). Jacob’s prayer for his people is that “God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement” (2 Nephi 10:25).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, taught that Jacob’s witness was a “reminder that the Atonement would be infinite and eternal, benefiting all men, women, and children who ever lived. The Savior’s mercy and love, including his fairness and justice, would require that everyone hear the good news of his gospel. Therefore, those living before Christ’s mortal ministry needed to hear the message just as much as those living during and after his mortal ministry. But he cannot spread that message alone. Thus it is for Christ’s sake—or in his behalf, if you will—that the gospel must be recorded and testified of in every era, including the Nephite dispensation” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 61).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122, pp. 26–30.

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Nephi 6:1–3. Jacob was qualified to teach the gospel to the Nephites. (10–15 minutes)

Display a picture of the President of the Church and a picture of a prominent civic or business leader, sports figure, or movie star. Discuss the following questions:

  • Which of these two people would you want to teach you the gospel? Why?

  • What might a prominent leader or movie star lack that would make it hard to teach the gospel?

  • What qualifies a person to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Have students read 2 Nephi 6:1–3 and mark at least five reasons that Jacob was qualified to teach the gospel. List each reason on the board and discuss each point. The list might include:

  • Jacob was called of God (see v. 2).

  • Jacob was ordained after “his holy order” (he held the priesthood; see v. 2).

  • Jacob was consecrated, or set apart, by the prophet Nephi (see v. 2).

  • Jacob cared deeply about his people (see v. 3).

  • Jacob had already put a great deal of effort into teaching the gospel (see v. 3).

Briefly discuss why these reasons qualify a person to teach the gospel. Invite students to share reasons the President of the Church is as qualified as Jacob was and to give specific examples if they know any.

2 Nephi 6:6–18. Prophets foretold that in the last days the gospel would be proclaimed, the Lord would gather His people, and redemption would come to all who repent. (30–35 minutes)

Invite students to read 1 Nephi 19:23; 2 Nephi 6:4; and 3 Nephi 23:1 and look for what these verses have in common. Ask: Why do you think Nephi, Jacob, and even the Savior Himself quoted Isaiah’s words and encouraged us to search them? Read 2 Nephi 6:5; 11:2; and 3 Nephi 23:2. Ask: What do these verses teach us about why Isaiah is quoted so often? Invite students to watch for these principles as they study Jacob’s inspired commentary on Isaiah.

Jacob begins by giving a brief history of the Jews to provide the setting for the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Read 2 Nephi 6:8–11, and discuss the following questions:

  • What did the Lord reveal to Jacob about the Jews living in his day? (They were carried into captivity; see v. 8.)

  • What was Jacob shown next? (The Jews would later return to Jerusalem; see v. 9.)

  • How would the Jews respond to Jesus’s mortal ministry? (see v. 9; 2 Nephi 10:3–4).

  • Why would they respond this way? (see 2 Nephi 6:10; 10:5).

  • What would happen to the Jews because they rejected the Holy One of Israel? (They would be scattered again and not be gathered until the last days; see 2 Nephi 6:10–11; 10:6.)

Display your country’s flag and a picture of parents holding children in their arms (for example, Gospel Art Picture Kit, no. 616). Read 2 Nephi 6:6–7 and discuss how these two images relate to Isaiah’s message.

Show students a copy of Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122 and explain what a commentary is (an insightful explanation). Tell students that they, with the help of Jacob, are going to write a commentary on 2 Nephi 6:6–7. Give students copies of the accompanying chart as a handout. Leave the “Commentary” column blank except for the scripture references at the beginning of each item. Have the students read the scriptures in the “Prophecy” column and write in the “Commentary” column how they would explain that portion of Isaiah’s prophecy.

Prophecy

Commentary

2 Nephi 6:6 (Isaiah 49:22)

“Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people. …”

2 Nephi 6:11–12; 9:1–2. The Lord will involve the gentile nations in gathering scattered Israel to “the true church” and “all their lands of promise.”

2 Nephi 6:6–7 (Isaiah 49:22–23)

“… and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

“And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers. …”

2 Nephi 10:7–9. As loving parents, the Gentiles will carry the house of Israel back to their lands of inheritance as part of the fulfillment of the Lord’s covenant with Israel.

2 Nephi 6:7 (Isaiah 49:23)

“… they shall bow down to thee with their faces towards the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.”

2 Nephi 6:13–15. Those who fight against the covenant people will “lick up the dust” or be humbled. Those who wait for the Lord’s coming will be saved.

When they finish, discuss their insights. If desired, use the suggested answers in the “Commentary” column. Ask any or all of the following questions to help your discussion:

  • Imagine attending the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games and watching the parade of nations, in which the athletes march in wearing their country’s colors and waving their country’s flag. Why do countries have flags? What are they for? (To identify a place or group, to give people something to rally around, to inspire troops in battle.)

  • What do you think is the standard or flag that the Lord has set up in the last days? (Possible answers include “the knowledge of their Redeemer” [2 Nephi 6:11], the “true church and fold of God” [2 Nephi 9:2], and political events that made possible the Restoration of the Church and the gathering of Israel.)

  • What image did Isaiah use to describe how the gentile nations would help gather the house of Israel?

  • How could a nation be like a “nursing father” or a “nursing mother”?

  • Who did Jacob say would be destroyed and why?

  • How does Jacob describe those who will be spared from destruction?

  • How do these prophecies apply to you?

Tell students that members of the Church are of the house of Israel. Explain that Nephi also spoke about the house of Israel in the last days. Read 2 Nephi 25:16–18 looking for what we can do to be spared from the destruction to come. Discuss with students how believing in Christ and worshiping “the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands” (v. 16) can help prepare us to be accepted as the Lord’s covenant people when He comes again.

Conclude by singing “High on the Mountain Top” (Hymns, no. 5).

2 Nephi 6:8–11, 14–15; 7:1–2, 4–7. The Lord never turns away from His people, even if they break their covenants and turn from Him. (20–25 minutes)

Display a picture of the Savior next to a picture of an ordinary person. Ask students which of the following demonstrations best shows what would happen if the person in the second picture committed a sin. First move the picture of the Savior away from the other picture. Put the Savior’s picture back, and then move the other picture away from the Savior’s. Ask: When we sin, does the Savior turn from us, or do we turn from Him? How do you know?

Have students read Isaiah’s prophecy in 2 Nephi 7:1–2 and look for similarities to the demonstration. Discuss the following questions:

  • Who is speaking in these verses?

  • Who is He speaking to? (Israel.)

  • According to verse 1, who left whom?

  • In what ways do we turn away from the Lord?

  • When the Lord called in verse 2, who answered?

  • How does the Lord call us?

  • In what ways do we respond? In what ways do we not respond?

Divide the class into two groups. Assign one group to study 2 Nephi 6:8–11 and the other to study 2 Nephi 6:14–15. Have students report on the differences between the first and second times Jesus Christ comes to “manifest himself” to the Jews. Ask:

  • What happened to the Jews when they turned away from the Lord?

  • What will happen to them as they turn back to the Lord?

  • What happens when individuals turn away from the Lord?

  • What has the Lord done for you when you have turned to Him?

Have students read 2 Nephi 7:4–7 and look for ways Isaiah described Jesus Christ. Ask students to compare Israel’s behavior with the Savior’s. Ask: What do we learn about the Lord from these verses that can give us hope as we choose to turn back to Him? (The Lord does not turn away but will always be there to help us.) Read Mosiah 11:24 and point out that sometimes the Lord is slow to respond to us because of our reluctance to hearken to Him. Read Mosiah 7:33 and ask what we must do to merit the Lord’s blessings. Conclude by reading the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“We cannot say it frequently enough. Turn away from youthful lusts. Stay away from drugs. They can absolutely destroy you. Avoid them as you would a terrible disease, for that is what they become. Avoid foul and filthy talk. It can lead to destruction. Be absolutely honest. Dishonesty can corrupt and destroy. Observe the Word of Wisdom. You cannot smoke; you must not smoke. You must not chew tobacco. You cannot drink liquor. … You must rise above these things which beckon with a seductive call. Be prayerful. Call on the Lord in faith, and He will hear your prayers. He loves you. He wishes to bless you. He will do so if you live worthy of His blessing” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 70; or Ensign, May 1997, 49).

2 Nephi 8:3–7, 11–16. In the last days the Lord’s covenant people will be gathered to Zion in joy and gladness. (30–35 minutes)

Bring several newspapers or magazines to class. Distribute them among the students and have them find articles describing disasters happening around the world. Invite them to report on the articles they found and show any photographs of the disasters. Ask: How do these destructions compare to those that will occur prior to the Second Coming? Invite them to share scriptures that describe the destructions that will occur before Christ’s coming (for example, 1 Nephi 22:13–16; D&C 43:25; 45:31–33; 88:88–91; 112:23–24).

Isaiah prophesied not only about the destruction of the wicked in the last days but also about the blessings the Lord will give to the righteous. Read 2 Nephi 8:3–6 and discuss the following questions:

  • What blessing awaits the righteous in Zion?

  • What will the Lord do with the “waste places” (v. 3), those parts of the earth that are destroyed?

  • The wicked will be destroyed, but what is the Lord’s promise to those who trust in Him and in His gospel? (see v. 6).

Divide the class into two groups. Have the first group study 2 Nephi 8:7–12 and identify the Lord’s promises to His people. Some of the language may be difficult for them, but allow them to struggle with the assignment. Have the second group study Doctrine and Covenants 97:10–20 and identify what we must do for Zion to prosper in the last days. Have the first group report, and discuss their findings. Be sure the following points are made:

  • 2 Nephi 8:7–8. The Lord’s people need not fear the wicked. Eventually the wicked will be destroyed and the righteous live forever. (See also D&C 29:17–20.)

  • 2 Nephi 8:9–11. Just as the Lord delivered ancient Israel from Egypt by parting the Red Sea, He will deliver His people from the destruction of the last days and bring them to Zion. (See also 1 Nephi 17:23–27 and the commentary for 2 Nephi 8:9–11 in Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122, p. 28.)

  • 2 Nephi 8:12. The Lord’s people need not fear men. Men are mortal and subject to death and destruction. The Lord has power over all His people’s enemies. (See also Isaiah 40:5–8; Malachi 4:1.)

Explain that though the righteous will be spared as a people, there may be some righteous who are victims of the destruction. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said:

“We do not say that all of the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety and no promise of security except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands” (in Conference Report, Mar–Apr. 1979, 133; or Ensign, May 1979, 93).

Have the second group report on what we can do to help Zion prosper. Discuss their answers and list them on the board. The following questions might be helpful:

  • What did the Lord command His people to build?

  • How was the temple to be paid for?

  • What purpose would the temple serve in preparing His people for His Second Coming? (Answers might include instructing them in all things pertaining to the kingdom and providing a place where the pure in heart could be in the presence of the Lord.)

  • How would Zion be blessed for worthily worshiping in the Lord’s house?

  • What can you do to make the temple a more important part of your spiritual life?

Have a student read the following statement by President Howard W. Hunter:

“And we again emphasize the personal blessings of temple worship and the sanctity and safety that are provided within those hallowed walls. It is the house of the Lord, a place of revelation and of peace. As we attend the temple, we learn more richly and deeply the purpose of life and the significance of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us make the temple, with temple worship and temple covenants and temple marriage, our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 118; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 87–88).

Briefly discuss how the temple can provide safety for those who worship there. Conclude by having students read Doctrine and Covenants 97:21–26 looking for the safety the Lord promises to His people in Zion.

weekly icon2 Nephi 9. The Atonement ransoms man from the Fall. (30–40 minutes)

Invite students to imagine being in a high-rise building still under construction. While walking around on the fifteenth floor, they slip and fall off the edge. Ask:

  • Which of the following safety devices would you rather have: an umbrella, a parachute, a bungee cord, or a net around the base of the building? Why?

  • Which would provide the greatest amount of safety?

  • Is it possible that some would not choose the safest item? Why?

  • Read Mosiah 16:3–4. How could these verses be compared to the analogy of falling off a building?

  • Which of the safety devices do you think best represents the Atonement? Why?

Explain that the Atonement ransoms man from the effects of the Fall. Write the following statement on the board: “The ninth chapter of II Nephi … should be carefully read by every person seeking salvation” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:57).

Ask students to read the heading to 2 Nephi 9 and tell why they think this chapter is so important.

Tell students that in 2 Nephi 9 Jacob uses the term O to express awe and reverence and the term wo to express sorrow and dread. Invite students to make two columns on a sheet of paper. Have them label one The O’s and the other The Wo’s. Invite them to study 2 Nephi 9:6–38 looking for these terms. Have them write in the appropriate columns what Jacob reverenced and what he sorrowed over. At the bottom of their paper have them write why they think “every person seeking salvation” should carefully read 2 Nephi 9.

Help and encourage individual students as they study. When they have finished, discuss what they learned from the exercise, and invite those who would like to share what they wrote at the bottom of their paper to do so.

2 Nephi 9:6–24. The Atonement of Jesus Christ will deliver all men from physical and spiritual death. However, those who are unrepentant will suffer a second spiritual death. (25–30 minutes)

Write the word phobia on the board. Ask students what it means, and list some phobias or fears people have. Ask the following questions as part of the discussion:

  • Why do people fear these things?

  • How do the consequences of sin and wickedness compare to the fears listed here?

  • Why do we often embrace that which can keep us from returning to live with our Father in Heaven?

Tell students that in 2 Nephi 9 Jacob explains the seriousness of sin, why we need to avoid it, and how faith in the Lord’s power can help us overcome it. Read 2 Nephi 9:10, 19, 26 and look for a phrase that is found in each verse. Ask:

  • What is the “awful monster”?

  • Why do you think Jacob used the image of a monster to describe death and hell?

Write the words death and hell on the board. Ask: What does Jacob mean when he uses these terms? (see v. 10). Have students read 2 Nephi 9:6–9, and discuss some or all of the following questions:

  • According to verse 6, what “passed upon all men”? (Death.)

  • What did God’s merciful plan provide to overcome this death? (The Resurrection.)

  • What kind of death does this refer to? (Write death of the physical body on the board under the term death.)

  • What other death was brought about by Adam’s Fall? (Write death of the spirit and being cut off from the presence of the Lord under the term hell.)

  • According to verse 7, what would happen to our physical bodies if there had been no “infinite atonement”? (They would remain in the grave forever.)

  • According to verses 8–9, what would happen to our spirits? (We would be angels to the devil.)

  • Because Jesus Christ was resurrected, what hope do we all have for our physical bodies?

  • Our bodies will be resurrected, but what could still keep us from overcoming spiritual death?

Have a student read the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson:

“There is another type of separation known in scripture as spiritual death (see 2 Nephi 9:12; Alma 12:16; 42:9; Helaman 14:16, 18). It ‘is defined as a state of spiritual alienation from God’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56], 2:217). Thus, one can be very much alive physically but dead spiritually. …

“If physical death should strike before moral wrongs have been made right, opportunity for repentance will have been forfeited. Thus, ‘the [real] sting of death is sin’ (1 Corinthians 15:56).

“Even the Savior cannot save us in our sins. He will redeem us from our sins, but only upon condition of our repentance. We are responsible for our own spiritual survival or death (see Romans 8:13–14; Helaman 14:18; D&C 29:41–45)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 102; or Ensign, May 1992, 73).

Explain that Jesus Christ’s Atonement has the power to overcome not only physical death but spiritual death as well. Divide the class into two groups and assign both groups to study 2 Nephi 9:10–24. Have both groups mark the phrase “all men.” Have the first group list what Jacob said will happen to all people, including us. Have the second group find out how, through the Savior’s help, physical and spiritual death can be overcome and what we can do to live with God again. Discuss their findings.

Read together 2 Nephi 10:23–24, and testify of the Savior’s power to save us all from “that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil” (2 Nephi 9:26).

2 Nephi 9:27–39, 41–43, 45–46, 49–52. If we succumb to temptation and do not repent, we become proud, carnally minded, and spiritually dead. When we come unto the Lord we become spiritually alive and filled with the hope of salvation. (25–30 minutes)

Invite students to consider what they would say if someone asked them, “Are you a product of the Fall or the Atonement?” Discuss what the question might mean, and invite students to suggest possible answers. Apply it to the following situations:

  • Jack got very nervous as he looked at the math test sitting on his desk. He shook his head with regret at having spent his study time the night before playing soccer with his friends. Then he noticed the girl’s paper on the desk next to his. He could see the answers clearly. The teacher was busy helping another student. Jack quickly copied the answers and sat back relieved.

  • Margaret flinched only a little when her mother, who was the Relief Society president, asked if she would help in the nursery during homemaking meeting that night. Margaret smiled and said she would be happy to. She hurried to her room to finish some homework before she had to leave. A few minutes later a friend called and invited her to see a movie. Margaret really wanted to go, but she declined so she could help her mom at the homemaking meeting.

Discuss the following questions:

  • What influenced Jack’s behavior: his fallen nature or the Savior’s Atonement?

  • What influenced Margaret’s behavior?

  • What do you think it means to be influenced by our fallen nature?

  • What does it mean to be influenced by the Savior’s Atonement?

Explain that both the Fall of Adam and the Atonement of Jesus Christ greatly influence our lives. Because of the Fall we are tempted to sin and live as a “natural man.” Through the Atonement we can repent, be forgiven, and enjoy the blessings of a spiritual life. Discuss the following statement by Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“There are many people in this Church today who think they live, but they are dead to the spiritual things. And I believe even many who are making pretenses of being active are also spiritually dead. Their service is much of the letter and less of the spirit” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 105).

Read 2 Nephi 9:39 and look for what leads to death and what leads to life. Tell students that they can be spiritually alive each day by choosing to apply the Atonement in their lives.

Divide the class into two groups. Assign the first group to study 2 Nephi 9:27–38. Have them mark each occurrence of the word wo and the kind of people who will have “wo” or suffering for their sins. (Note: If you used the teaching suggestion for 2 Nephi 9 and students kept their list of the “O’s” and the “wo’s,” allow them to use these charts as they complete this assignment.) Have the second group study 2 Nephi 9:39, 41–43, 45–46, 49–52. Have them mark each occurrence of the word come and what we must do to come unto the Lord. Have them list the blessings that come to those who live the spiritual life.

Write the phrases Product of the Fall and Product of the Atonement on the board. Have the groups share what they have learned about being a “product of the Fall” and a “product of the Atonement,” and list their findings under those headings on the board. Conclude by having a student read the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“The most satisfying experience I have is to see what this gospel does for people. It gives them a new outlook on life. It gives them a perspective that they have never felt before. It raises their sights to things noble and divine. Something happens to them that is miraculous to behold. They look to Christ and come alive” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 68; or Ensign, May 1997, 48).

scripture mastery icon2 Nephi 9:28–29 (Scripture Mastery). To be learned is good if we listen to God’s counsel. (10–15 minutes)

Draw on the board a representation of a diploma indicating that a student in the class graduated from a university with a Ph.D. Ask students to list the benefits that come from being well-educated.

Read together 2 Nephi 9:28 and discuss the possible pitfalls of being well-educated. Have students tell what might happen to us if we thought we were wiser than those listed below:

  • A parent

  • Our bishop

  • The prophet

  • Heavenly Father

Read together 2 Nephi 9:29 looking for when it is good to be learned. Tell students that it is important for them to improve themselves through education, but encourage them to remember this counsel from Elder Russell M. Nelson:

“Choose what you will learn and whose purposes you will serve. But don’t place all your intellectual eggs in one basket of secular learning” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 5; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 6).

Discuss what other “basket” students could place their “intellectual eggs” in.

2 Nephi 10:10–20. In the last days the Lord will establish a Zion on the American continent, and those who fight against Zion will perish. (15–20 minutes)

Display a map of the world. Select a place anywhere in the world and point to it. Ask students:

  • Would any of you like to move there? Why or why not?

  • Would you change your mind if you learned that you and your family would have greater happiness and blessings there?

Have students read 2 Nephi 10:20 and look for a similar experience that Jacob had. Ask:

  • What did the Lord provide for Jacob’s family after they were “driven” away from their original home?

  • What continent was Jacob’s family taken to? (The American continent.)

Explain that many prophets have testified that a Zion would be built on the American continent and that it would be “a choice land” (Ether 2:12; see vv. 6–12; 2 Nephi 1:5; Articles of Faith 1:10).

Write the following questions on the board:

•What blessings were promised to those living on the American continent?

•What will happen to those who fight against the Zion that will be established on the American continent?

•Who will be the only King to those living in Zion, and what will He provide for them?

•What blessing will come to the Gentiles whose hearts are softened?

Invite students to read 2 Nephi 10:10–18 and write on a sheet of paper the answers to the questions on the board. Discuss their findings. Have students identify what blessings have come into their lives because God established a land of liberty on the American continent. (The Restoration of the gospel and the organization of the Church were made possible by the liberties God provided on the American continent.)