Some Important Principles, Doctrines, and Events
Abraham was a seer and used an instrument known as the “Urim and Thummim” to obtain revelation from the Lord about the planets and stars (see Abraham 3:1–2; see also Mosiah 8:13; Joseph Smith—History 1:35).
Kolobis the name of the greatest of all the stars that God showed Abraham. It is located nearest to the presence of the Lord and governs all the other stars that He showed Abraham (see Abraham 3:3, 9, 16–17; see also D&C 88:7–13).
The Lord’s way of “reckoning” (measuring) time on stars and planets is determined by their relationship to Kolob, the central governing star (see Abraham 3:4–10; see also 2 Peter 3:8; D&C 88:42–45; 130:4–5; Abraham 5:13).
Before Abraham entered Egypt, the Lord appeared to him face to face and reconfirmed the covenant He had made with him in Haran. The Lord also commanded Abraham to teach the gospel to the Egyptians (see Abraham 3:11–15; see alsoGenesis 32:30; Exodus 33:11; D&C 76:22–23; Moses 1:2).
Suggestions for Teaching
Abraham 3. Overview
Ask if any students like to “stargaze,” or if they have ever looked through a telescope at the stars and other planets. If any answer “yes,” invite them to share their feelings about the vastness of the universe. Then carefully read Abraham 3:1–17with students and make a list of what Abraham learned about the stars, planets, and so forth. You may want to refer to the commentary for Abraham 3:1–17in the student manual (pp. 36–37) for help teaching these verses. Read Abraham 3:18–23together and make a list of what Abraham learned about the Lord and the premortal spirit children of Heavenly Father. (You may want to refer to the commentary for these verses in the student manual, p. 37.) Share with students this quotation about Abraham 3:1–23:
“At first glance, it may appear that Abraham is dealing with two separate ideas, each deserving a chapter of its own. A more careful reading, however, reveals that the second part of the chapter is a deliberate restatement of the first. Each principle describing the relationship of one star or planet to another proves to be equally descriptive of the nature and relationship of pre-earth spirits one to another. The revelation on planets ends in the eighteenth verse where the revelation on pre-earth spirits begins. The two parts of the revelation are welded at that point with the words ‘as, also,’ which is simply to say what is true of the stars is ‘also’ true of the spirits” (Joseph F. McConkie, “The Heavens Testify of Christ,” in Studies in Scripture: Volume Two, the Pearl of Great Price,ed. Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson , 239–40).
Review the two lists you made and help students compare what they learned about stars and planets to what they learned about premortal spirits. Have students search Doctrine and Covenants 138:38–57and find where they are mentioned “among the noble and great ones.”
Abraham 3:1–2. The Urim and Thummim
Read Abraham 3:1–2and review with students what the Urim and Thummim is by using the explanation under “Abraham 3:1. What Is the Urim and Thummim?” in the student manual (p. 36; see also Bible Dictionary, “seer”; “Urim and Thummim”).
Abraham 3:2–4, 18. “If You Could Hie to Kolob”
Abraham 3:2–9, 16–17and Facsimile 2, Figures 1–2, 5. Kolob and Christ
Invite students to find and explain ways that the description of Kolob in Abraham 3:2–9, 16–17and in the explanations for Facsimile 2, figures 1–2, 5 are like Jesus Christ. Ask: How do these examples help us understand the Savior?
Abraham 3:11–15. “Go into Egypt”
Ask students where they think some of the more challenging missionary assignments in today’s world might be, and why. Remind students of what happened in Abraham 1:12–20, and ask them why it would have been difficult for Abraham to go preach the gospel in Egypt. How could what Abraham saw and learned in Abraham 3:1–14have helped him find the courage to go to Egypt?