Joseph Smith–Matthew

The Pearl of Great Price: Teacher Manual, (2000), 48–49


Some Important Principles, Doctrines, and Events

  • Shortly before His death, the Savior met with His disciples on the Mount of Olives and prophesied concerning events that would shortly come to pass, as well as events surrounding the last days and His Second Coming. These prophecies are recorded in the Bible in Matthew 24.

  • As the Prophet Joseph Smith worked on his inspired revision of the Bible, he made many changes to Matthew 24. The Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 24is printed as “Joseph Smith—Matthew” in the Pearl of Great Price. The Lord also revealed additional information pertaining to this discourse on the Mount of Olives, which is recorded in section 45 of the Doctrine and Covenants (see D&C 45:15–61).

  • We should study what the Lord and His prophets have said about the great and important events leading up to the Second Coming (see Matthew 22:29; 2 Peter 1:20–21; D&C 1:37).

Suggestions for Teaching

An Extract from the Translation of the Bible

Have students compare Matthew 23:39to Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1. Discuss how the changes the Prophet Joseph Smith made to this verse help us better understand what Jesus said. You may also want to compare Matthew 24:1to Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:2; Matthew 24:2to Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:3; and Matthew 24:3to Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:4. Review together the insights and commentary under “Joseph Smith—Matthew” in the student manual (pp. 42–43). Invite students to write notes in the margins of Joseph Smith—Matthew describing what they learn about these verses (for example, Joseph Smith added nearly 450 words to the biblical text). Invite students to tell how these changes testify of the divine inspiration of the Joseph Smith Translation.

Joseph Smith—Matthew. Overview

The Organization of Joseph Smith—Matthew

Part 1
verses 1–4

introduction, including the disciples’ questions

Part 2
verses 5–21

prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem

Part 3
verses 21–55

prophecies about the latter days, the end of the world, and the Second Coming

Invite students to mark their scriptures in a way that reflects the three-part organization of Joseph Smith—Matthew 1, using lines, boxes, notes, or different colors. This chapter, known also as the Olivet Discourse (because the Savior and His disciples were on the Mount of Olives), is organized as follows: (1) verses 1–4 are the introduction, including the disciples’ questions; (2) verses 5–21 are prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem that would occur shortly after Jesus’ death; and (3) verses 21–55 are prophecies about the latter days, the end of the world, and the Second Coming. Because the Prophet Joseph Smith rearranged several verses during his inspired revision, this organization is much more apparent in Joseph Smith—Matthew than in Matthew 24.

Ask students to find three events that Jesus prophesied would happen in the days shortly after His death and also in the latter days (see vv. 6 and 22; vv. 10 and 30; vv. 12 and 32). Which latter-day event did Jesus prophesy about twice? (see vv. 23, 28). Remind students that Doctrine and Covenants 45:15–61contains more information from the Olivet Discourse. Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:9–10, 15–17. Discuss why Jesus gave these two prophecies to His disciples of old, and why they have been repeated in our scriptures today.

Studying the Events Prophesied for the Last Days

Read the following statement from President Harold B. Lee, and then discuss why the scriptures should be our primary source for learning about the events of the last days.

“There are among us many loose writings predicting the calamities which are about to overtake us. Some of these have been publicized as though they were necessary to wake up the world to the horrors about to overtake us. Many of these are from sources upon which there cannot be unquestioned reliance.

“Are you … aware of the fact that we need no such publications to be forewarned, if we were only conversant with what the scriptures have already spoken to us in plainness? …

“Read the 24th chapter of Matthew—particularly that inspired version as contained in the Pearl of Great Price [Joseph Smith—Matthew].

“Then read the 45th section of the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord, not man, has documented the signs of the times.

“Now turn to section 101 and section 133 of the Doctrine and Covenants and hear the step-by-step recounting of events leading up to the coming of the Savior.

“Finally, turn to the promises the Lord makes to those who keep the commandments when these judgments descend upon the wicked, as set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 38.

“… These are some of the writings with which you should concern yourselves, rather than commentaries that may come from those whose information may not be the most reliable and whose motives may be subject to question” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1972, 128; or Ensign,Jan. 1973, 106).