Some Important Principles, Doctrines, and Events
The pharaoh (king) of Egypt in Abraham’s day was a wicked descendant of Ham, son of Noah, who falsely claimed the right to the patriarchal order of the priesthood of God (see Abraham 1:20–27).
Suggestions for Teaching
Abraham 1:20–31. A False Claim
Refer students to the illustration on page 32 of the student manual (also shown here), where Pharaoh is portrayed crowned and seated on a throne. Explain that the crown and throne are symbols of Pharaoh’s authority and power as the king of Egypt. Next refer students to Facsimile 3, figure 1 in the book of Abraham, where Abraham is portrayed as crowned and seated on a throne. Note that the explanation states Abraham’s crown represents the priesthood. Assign a few students to study Abraham 1:20–27and explain in their own words why Pharaoh did not have a legitimate claim to the priesthood. Assign other students to study verses 3–4, 20–31 and explain why Abraham did have a legitimate claim to the priesthood.
Help students understand the eternal importance of divine authority. Assign students to read the scriptures listed under the three topics below, and discuss the aspects of this eternal conflict over claims to God’s authority.
The confrontation on this earth between the church of the devil and the true Church of Jesus Christ (see 1 Nephi 14:7–17).
You may want to read and discuss the material under “Abraham 1:2. What Is ‘the Right Belonging to the Fathers’?”; “Abraham 1:3. Who Conferred the Priesthood upon Abraham?”; “Abraham 1:20–27. A Pharaoh in Egypt”; “Abraham 1:25. ‘The First Government of Egypt … Was after the Manner of the Government of Ham, Which Was Patriarchal’”; “Abraham 1:24–27. The Pharaoh and the Priesthood”; and “Abraham 1:27. What Does It Mean to ‘Fain Claim’ the Right of the Priesthood?” in the student manual (pp. 30, 32–33).
Abraham 1:26. Righteous Imitation
Read Abraham 1:26and discuss the blessings Pharaoh received and did not receive. Ask: How could he eventually receive the priesthood? (see D&C 138:32–35, 58–59). Why does it take more than righteous behavior to officiate in the priesthood? (see Hebrews 5:4; D&C 42:11; 138:30).
Abraham 1:28, 31. “Records of the Fathers”
Have students list documents in society today that can be used to verify or prove something (such as birth certificates, medical records, passports, wills, and so forth; you may want to show students any such documents that you may have). Read Abraham 1:28, 31and discuss the value of these records that showed Abraham’s right to the priesthood. Ask: What other important information was contained in these records? Ask students what records or documents they have that could provide evidence of their gospel blessings (such as records of baptism or ordination to the priesthood, missionary calls, temple recommends, and so forth). How could these records or documents be of benefit to their posterity?