The Son of the Eternal Father

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, Instructor’s Guide (Rel 211–12), (2000), 13–14


It is important that we know that Jesus Christ is literally the Son of the Eternal Father and that he had to overcome the trials and vicissitudes of mortal life.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    Because Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, he inherited power which enabled him to break the bands of death.

    1. 1.

      Because Jesus was born of Mary, he inherited the capability to die.

    2. 2.

      Because of his divine birth, Jesus had power to suffer more than man can suffer, including the capability to suffer the pains of all mankind.

  • B.

    As Joseph Smith taught, Jesus was born with a veil of forgetfulness common to all who are born to earth, but even as a child he had all the intelligence necessary to enable him to govern the kingdom of the Jews (see source under Basic Library), because he overcame the veil and came into communication with his Heavenly Father.

  • C.

    Through the Spirit, we must gain for ourselves the knowledge that Jesus is divine.

Study Sources

New Testament Reading Assignment

Matthew 1, 2; Luke 1, 2

Course Manual

Chapter 3, “The Son of the Eternal Father”

Standard Works

1 Nephi 11:14-17. What did Nephi learn about the “condescension of God”?

Luke 1:28-35; 1 Nephi 11:18-20; Alma 7:10. Who was the father of Jesus?

John 5:26. What powers did Jesus inherit from God the Father?

Mosiah 3:7, 8. Jesus inherited from Mary the capacity to suffer what?

Alma 34:10-14. What kind of sacrifice was required for the Atonement?

Luke 2:46, 47. Who was teaching whom in the temple?

John 8:28; 12:49. Why was Jesus able to give answers that would astonish the wise men of his nation?

Basic Library

Jesus the Christ, p. 81. What does this statement contribute to our understanding of the birth of Jesus?

Discourses, p. 50. This describes what relationship between the Father and Jesus?

Teachings, pp. 187-88. How did Jesus have the power to overcome the world?

Jesus the Christ, pp. 103-4; Harold B. Lee in CR, Apr. 1973, p. 4. What do we know about the date of Jesus’ birth?

Jesus the Christ, pp. 85-87. What may have contributed to the desire of the leaders of the Sanhedrin to have Jesus killed?

Teachings, p. 261. Why was John raised in the wilderness?

DS, 1:32-33. How much knowledge and understanding did Jesus have at the time of his birth?

Gos. Doc, p. 68. How did Jesus gain the fulness of knowledge that he eventually received?

Discourses, p. 26. How much of the fulness of knowledge that Jesus has did he receive from his Father?

Teachings, p. 392. How much understanding had Jesus received from his Father by the age of twelve?

DS, 1:18-37. What help in understanding the divine sonship of Jesus can be found in this chapter? (Note particularly a clarification from the Inspired Version, found on page 32.)

Additional Sources

Marion G. Romney, “Jesus the Christ: Lord of the Universe,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1968, pp. 46-49.

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Jesus Was the Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh (A Discussion and Scripture Analysis)

1 Nephi 11:16-18. What does the word condescend mean? In what way did the Father condescend to be the father of a mortal woman’s son?

Alma 34:10-14. What is the relationship between the divine birth of Jesus and his power to perform the Atonement?

    Jesus’ Father

  • (From him Jesus received the power of immortality, which is the power to live indefinitely.)

    Jesus’ Mother

  • (From her Jesus received the capacity to die.)


  • (Jesus was the only being who had the power to die and the power to take up his body again.)

Discussion and Scripture Analysis

Analyze the following scriptural passages with the students, focusing on the testimony of each person

Mark 14:61, 62. Whose testimony is contained in these verses? Under what conditions did this testimony find expression? What is the significance of this testimony?

1 Corinthians 2:4, 5, 11, 14. How can the most effective testimony of the divine sonship of Jesus be obtained? Does the kind of life we may be living have anything to do with our success in obtaining such a testimony?

Continue with such references as Matthew 3:17; 17:5 Nephi 11:18-21; John 20:13; Luke 1:32.

What is the relationship between testimony and this warning by Elder Heber C. Kimball?

“The time will come when no man or woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within themselves. If you do not have the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, how can you stand?” (As cited by J. Golden Kimball in CR, Oct. 1930, p. 60.)

The Significance of the Virgin Birth

(A Discussion and Chalkboard Diagram)

The teacher might wish to point out that many people in the Christian world want to believe in Jesus, but only as a great human being, only as a great man. They feel uncomfortable about the concept of the miraculous, virgin birth. Yet if this is denied, all of the Atonement must be rejected as well. It was the inheritance that came from a mortal mother and a divine Father that made the Atonement possible. The following paragraphs could be used to illustrate this:

If Jesus had been born of two mortal parents, then-

  1. 1.

    He could not have had the power to overcome death.

  2. 2.

    He could not have endured the infinite pain and suffering of Gethsemane. (See Jesus the Christ, p. 613.)

  3. 3.

    He would have sinned and thus, like all other men, been under the demands of the law of justice.

If Jesus had been born of two divine parents, then—

  1. 1.

    He would not have died; he would have been immortal.

  2. 2.

    He would have been impervious to physical pain and suffering and so would not have been able to experience the physical pain and agony of the Garden.

  3. 3.

    He would not have been subject to the temptation and the opportunity to sin.

But, Jesus was born of a divine parent and a mortal parent; therefore—

  1. 1.

    He had power to die and to rise again. The sons of Joseph and Mary could not do that.

  2. 2.

    He had capability to suffer like man but could endure much more than man. The sons of Joseph and Mary could not do that.