To help class members understand that (1) we are children of God, (2) we can resist Satan’s temptations, and (3) God’s work and glory is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life.
Prayerfully study the following scriptures from the Pearl of Great Price:
Moses 1:1–11. Moses sees God and talks with him face to face. Moses learns that he is a son of God in the similitude of the Only Begotten of the Father. Note: Class members should understand that Jehovah, not Heavenly Father, appeared to Moses in this vision. Jehovah was the premortal Jesus Christ and the God of the Old Testament. He is one with his Father in purpose and represents him in power and authority. His words are those of the Father, and sometimes, as in Moses 1:6, he speaks in the first person for the Father. (See James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, 12th ed. , 470–71.)
Moses 1:12–23. Satan confronts Moses; Moses casts him out.
Moses 1:24–39. God appears again and teaches of his work and glory.
Study the lesson and decide how to teach the scripture accounts. Because it would be difficult to ask every question or cover every point in the lesson, prayerfully select those that will best meet class members’ needs. You may need to adapt some questions to fit class members’ circumstances.
Obtain a copy of the Old Testament Class Member Study Guide (34592) for each person in your class. (The ward should have ordered these study guides as part of the annual curriculum order; a member of the bishopric should give them to the Sunday School presidency.)
If you use the second attention activity, obtain a paper or cloth bag and place in it a few everyday items, such as a rock, comb, and pencil.
Suggested Lesson Development
Introduction to the Old Testament
The Old Testament is an account of God’s dealings with his covenant people from the time of the Creation to a few hundred years before the Savior’s birth. The Old Testament provides powerful examples of faith and obedience. It also shows the consequences of forgetting, disobeying, or opposing God. Its prophecies bear witness of the Messiah’s birth, redeeming sacrifice, second coming, and millennial reign.
In addition to the Old Testament, this course includes the books of Moses and Abraham from the Pearl of Great Price. These books provide important additions and clarifications to some of the material in the book of Genesis. The book of Moses is an extract from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. The book of Abraham is a translation that the Prophet Joseph Smith made from some Egyptian papyri. For additional information about the Joseph Smith Translation, see “Joseph Smith Translation,” Bible Dictionary, page 717. Note also that selections from the Joseph Smith Translation are included after the Bible Dictionary in the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Bible.
You may want to use one of the following activities (or one of your own) to begin the lesson. Select the activity that would be most appropriate for the class.
Ask class members to look in Moses 1:6, 20–22, 39 to identify important truths that are revealed. Answers may vary. Explain that this lesson will focus on the three truths that are listed under “Purpose” on page 1.
Select two class members and hand them a bag that contains a few everyday items (see “Preparation,” page 1). Tell the participants that they are going to play a game, but do not give instructions or explain the object of the game. Ask the participants to open the bag and begin playing. They will expect the contents of the bag to explain the game. However, the contents do not provide this information, and the participants will wonder what they are supposed to do.
Point out that to understand a game we must understand its object or purpose. Similarly, to understand our lives on earth we must understand the object or purpose of our lives. Moses 1 helps us understand this by answering three important questions:
Who are we?
How can we overcome the influence of the adversary?
What is God’s work and glory?
Scripture Discussion and Application
As you teach the following scripture passages, discuss how they apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share experiences that relate to the scriptural principles. At an appropriate time during the lesson, hand out the Old Testament Class Member Study Guide (34592) and encourage class members to use it to further their personal and family scripture study.
1. God teaches that Moses is a son of God.
Teach and discuss Moses 1:1–11.
What did Moses learn about God from the experiences described in Moses 1:1–7? What did Moses learn about himself? (You may want to have class members note the number of times God refers to Moses as “my son” in these verses.)
What does it mean that Moses was created “in the similitude” of the Savior? (Moses 1:6). What difference can it make in our lives to know that we are children of God, created in the similitude of his Son?
Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: “Consider the power of the idea taught in our beloved song ‘I Am a Child of God.’ … Here is the answer to one of life’s great questions, ‘Who am I?’ I am a child of God with a spirit lineage to heavenly parents. That parentage defines our eternal potential. That powerful idea is a potent antidepressant. It can strengthen each of us to make righteous choices and to seek the best that is within us. Establish in the mind of a … person the powerful idea that he or she is a child of God, and you have given self-respect and motivation to move against the problems of life” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 31; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 25).
By repeatedly calling Moses “my son” and by saying that he was created “in the similitude of mine Only Begotten,” God gave Moses confidence and an understanding of his worth. How can following this principle help us as parents? How can it strengthen marriages? How can it strengthen friendships?
Suggest that in a world where criticism and negative, demeaning comments seem to dominate, we should follow the Lord’s example and say things that help others see themselves as children of God who have dignity and worth.
Moses’ importance and eternal potential are emphasized in Moses 1:1–7. However, after the presence of God withdrew from him, Moses said, “Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing” (Moses 1:10). In what sense are both concepts true? (God is infinitely wiser and more powerful than mortal men and women. We are nothing without him. However, as his children we have the potential to become like him.)
2. Satan confronts Moses; Moses casts him out.
Teach and discuss Moses 1:12–23.
When Satan came, what did he command Moses to do? (See Moses 1:12.) Why do you think Satan called Moses “son of man”? (Satan wanted Moses to believe that he was not a son of God.) Why does Satan want us to doubt or disregard that we are children of God? How does he try to do this?
How did Moses respond when Satan called him “son of man”? (See Moses 1:13.) How can a strong testimony that we are sons and daughters of God help us resist temptation?
How many times did Moses tell Satan to depart? (See Moses 1:16, 18, 20, 21.) What does this teach us about resisting Satan’s efforts?
How did Moses receive strength to resist the temptations of Satan? (See Moses 1:18, 20–21.) How did Moses get Satan to leave? How can prayer strengthen us to resist temptation? What else can we do to gain this strength?
3. God appears again and teaches of his work and glory.
Teach and discuss Moses 1:24–39.
After Satan departed, Moses again beheld the glory of God and was shown another vision of the earth and its inhabitants (Moses 1:24–28). What two questions did Moses ask when he was shown this vision? (See Moses 1:30.) What answers did God give? (See Moses 1:31–32, 39.)
Even though God has created worlds and people that are numberless to us, he assured Moses that he knows them all (Moses 1:35). How have you come to feel that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know you individually and love you? (You may want to bear testimony of a time when you felt their love and concern for you.)
God’s work and glory is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). What is immortality? Who will receive immortality? What is eternal life? Who will receive eternal life?
Elder James E. Faust said: “There is a distinction between immortality, or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to all … , just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7). We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, ‘if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.’ If we so endure, the promise is, ‘you shall have eternal life’ (D&C 14:7)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1988, 14; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, 12).
Why is it important for us to know what God’s work and glory is? What are some specific ways we can assist him in this great work?
President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives of others. To each of us in our respective responsibilities the Lord has said: … ‘In doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of him who is your Lord’ (D&C 81:4)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 94; or Ensign, May 1995, 71; see also D&C 81:5–6).
Moses 1 teaches the powerful doctrine that we are sons and daughters of God. Invite class members to ponder the significance of this truth. Testify that our Heavenly Father knows and loves each of us. Encourage class members to express to their families their feelings about what they have learned from Moses 1.
Additional Teaching Ideas
The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.
1. “Moses was left unto himself” (Moses 1:9)
There may be times when we are “left unto [ourselves]” as Moses was—times when we do not feel the Spirit strongly or have many trials. What can we learn from Moses 1 to help us deal with these times? (Answers could include: Such difficulties may not be due to any wrongdoing on our part; God does not leave us entirely, as shown in verse 15; and we often gain great strength by facing our trials, calling on God, and increasing our faith.)
2. All are children of God
Moses received the vision that is recorded in Moses 1 before leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. How do you think this vision helped him in this effort, especially when he was discouraged by the people’s frequent rebellion and lack of faith? How can knowing that all of us are children of God help a teacher or leader? How can this knowledge help us in relationships with family members, friends, and others?
3. The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible
If Old Testament Video Presentations (53224) is available, you may want to show “The Power of the Joseph Smith Translation,” a five-minute segment, as part of the lesson. Remind class members that the book of Moses is an extract from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.
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