Matthew 24–25; Joseph Smith—Matthew

“Lesson 8: Matthew 24–25,” New Testament Teacher Manual (2018)

Introduction and Timeline

Chapters 24–25 of Matthew contain what is sometimes called the Olivet Discourse, so named because the Savior delivered it on the Mount of Olives. After spending much of the final week of His mortal ministry teaching at the temple, Jesus looked back on the temple and its surrounding structures and prophesied: “I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2; Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:3). Peter, James, John, and Andrew later approached Jesus privately with two questions: (1) “When shall these things be?”—referring to the destruction of the temple; and (2) “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3; see also Mark 13:3–4). In Matthew 24 and Joseph Smith—Matthew, you will study the Savior’s responses to these two questions.

New Testament Student Manual : Religion 211-212

Chapter Overviews

Matthew 24Joseph Smith—Matthew;

The Savior foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and taught about the signs that would precede His Second Coming.

Matthew 25

To help His disciples know how to be prepared for His Second Coming, the Savior taught the parables of the ten virgins, the talents, and the sheep and the goats.

Suggestions for Teaching

Joseph Smith—Matthew; Matthew 24

Jesus Christ’s Teachings about the Destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Coming

Invite students to name three or four recent world or local news stories that deal with natural disasters, manmade disasters, corruption, violence, or crime. Ask students:

  • What are some of the emotions people might have in response to troubling news stories like these?

Tell students that the scriptures they will study today are directly related to these types of events in the world. The Savior taught about the troubles of the last days, and what He taught can give us hope and assurance as we live in troubled times.

Explain to students that Joseph Smith—Matthew, found in the Pearl of Great Price, is Joseph Smith’s inspired translation, or revision, of Matthew 24. Have students quietly read Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:4 and identify the two main questions the disciples asked Jesus Christ. You might want to identify these questions by writing them on the board:

When shall these things be concerning the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem?

What signs will precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the end of the world?

Consider having students identify the same questions in Matthew 24:3. Tell students that the inspired changes found in Joseph Smith—Matthew answer these two questions more clearly than the passages in Matthew 24. Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1–21 deals with events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22–55 deals with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, particularly the events and signs preceding it, often referred to as “signs of the times.” Students may want to make note of this in their scriptures by writing “Destruction of Jerusalem, verses 1–21,” and “Signs of Second Coming, verses 22–55” in the margin of their scriptures near the beginning of Joseph Smith—Matthew.

  • Of the two questions on the board, which one relates more directly to us? (Signs preceding the Second Coming.)

Assign students to quietly study Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22–36 and make a list on a piece of paper of the signs Jesus Christ prophesied would precede His Second Coming. After students have had time to make their lists, have a few students verbally share their lists with the class. (Possible answers: False Christs, false prophets, wars and rumors of wars, elect to be gathered from the four quarters of the earth, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, iniquity to abound, and the gospel to be preached in all the world.)

  • What evidence have you seen that some of these signs have occurred or are occurring? (Students might mention some of the news stories they shared earlier.)

Ask students to look at Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:20, 22–23 and identify a term used in all three verses. After students have identified the term elect, you might point out to students that the term elect is also found in verses 27, 29, 37, and 39. Explain that the term elect, as used in Joseph Smith—Matthew, refers to baptized members of the Church, for they are “the elect according to the covenant” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22). Have a student read Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22–23. As the student reads, have the rest of the class look for how the Savior encouraged the elect to respond when they see the signs that will precede His Second Coming.

  • How would you summarize the Savior’s counsel about how we should respond to the signs preceding His Second Coming?

As the students share their ideas, make sure they understand this principle: The elect need not be troubled when they see the signs preceding the Second Coming. Consider writing this principle on the board.

  • What does the Savior’s admonition, “See that ye be not troubled,” mean to you as it applies to the prophesied events you read about in Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:21–36? (As students discuss responses to this question, be sure they understand that one reason the Savior revealed these “signs of the times” was to warn us and prompt us to prepare for His coming. Another reason was to provide assurance that He is in control and that He will come again.)

Consider reading the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Holland, Jeffrey R.

“The Savior warned that in the last days even those of the covenant, the very elect, could be deceived by the enemy of truth [see Matthew 24:24; see also Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22]. … The encouraging thing, of course, is that our Father in Heaven knows all of these latter-day dangers, these troubles of the heart and soul, and has given counsel and protections regarding them” (“Safety for the Soul,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 88).

Encourage students to look for the encouraging “counsel and protections” the Lord gave as they study further in Joseph Smith—Matthew. Point out that even though the Lord’s counsel in verses 1–21 applies to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple there, many of these teachings apply to our day as well, and the following material will refer to teachings throughout Joseph Smith—Matthew.

Write the following verse numbers from Joseph Smith—Matthew on the board:

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:5–6, 11, 12, 27, 37, 38–39, 46–50

Assign students as individuals or in pairs to study these verses and any accompanying footnotes, looking for Jesus Christ’s teachings that will help us “be not troubled” in the last days. Encourage students to mark key words and phrases in these verses.

After students have had sufficient time to study, invite them to select one of the scripture references on the board and to explain to the class (1) what Jesus taught, (2) what it means, and (3) how it can be applied so that we can have greater faith, hope, and trust in Jesus Christ as the events preceding the Second Coming continue to unfold. As students report, you might fill in the board with each response so that when all of the verses have been discussed, the board might look something like the following:

The Savior’s Teachings That Will Help Us “Be Not Troubled” in the Last Days

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:5–6

Be cautious and take heed against deceivers.

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:11

Remain steadfast.

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:12

Stand in holy places.

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:27

Gather into Christ’s true Church.

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37

Treasure up the word of God.

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:38–39

Be familiar with the signs preceding the Second Coming.

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:46–50

Be watchful, faithful, and always ready.

Have a student read the story by President M. Russell Ballard from the student manual commentary for Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22; Matthew 24:24. This story can help students feel the importance of the Savior’s teachings recorded in Joseph Smith—Matthew. Then ask:

  • Which of the Savior’s teachings listed on the board are illustrated in this story? (Possible answers: Avoid deception; even the elect must be watchful; treasure up the Lord’s word.)

Help students summarize the content of these scripture references by asking:

  • As you think about the scriptures listed on the board, how would you summarize the Savior’s message to us today? (As students share their responses, make sure they understand these truths: Those who keep the commandments need not be troubled as the Second Coming approaches. The Savior taught us how to be prepared for the Second Coming.)

Consider asking one or more of the following questions to deepen understanding and application of the principles taught in these verses:

  • How can we be ready for the Second Coming, even though we do not know when it will happen?

  • How can our faith be strengthened by knowing the signs that will precede the Second Coming?

  • How have you (or someone you know) been strengthened or protected by adhering to one or more of the Savior’s teachings listed on the board?

Have a student read the student manual commentary for Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:23; Matthew 24:6.

  • What do you see in President Thomas S. Monson’s statement that can bring us strength and comfort in the last days?

Conclude by encouraging students to ponder what they can do to deepen their trust in the Lord and in His plans for the last days. Testify that, as President Monson declared, “the future is as bright as your faith.”

Matthew 25

Three Parables about Preparing for the Second Coming

Prepare students to discuss the three parables in Matthew 25 by dividing your class into small groups, with three to four students in each group. If your class is small, an individual student may serve as a group. If you have a large class, more than one group may be assigned to each parable.

IconGive each group or student a copy of the handout “Study Questions for Matthew 25.” Assign each group or student to study one of the parables found in Matthew 25 and to discuss the corresponding study questions. Give groups about eight to ten minutes to study and discuss the parable and questions. Each group should select a spokesperson to give a brief overview of the parable to the rest of the class and to share responses to the group’s study questions.

After the groups have shared their thoughts and the class has discussed the three parables, consider asking a few students to explain what these parables teach them personally about how to be prepared to meet the Savior. Some doctrines and principles that might come out of this discussion are: Righteous living prepares us to meet the Savior. If we continually seek the Spirit, we will be prepared to meet the Lord. Through developing our talents and improving upon what the Lord has given us, we can prepare to meet the Lord. We show our love for God by the way we treat His children.

  • What difference does it make in your life to know that you will meet the Savior in the future, either when you die or when the Savior comes to earth again?

Give students a moment to consider what has been discussed in class today and to determine what they could do to better prepare to meet the Savior. Consider asking students if any of them would like to share their testimony of the Second Coming or of any teachings discussed today. Share your testimony that Jesus Christ will come again to the earth. Though wickedness will be widespread in the last days, following the teachings in Matthew 24–25 will help us live with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and have the peace and joy that comes from righteous living.

New Testament Teacher Manual, Rel 211–212, Rev. 2013