â€œLesson 21: 1 Nephi 20â€“22,â€ Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
â€œLesson 21,â€ Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
As Nephi taught members of his family, he read from the brass plates, focusing on Isaiahâ€™s prophecies about the scattering and gathering of Israel. Then he answered his brothersâ€™ questions about those prophecies. He explained that the prophecies applied directly to their family. Echoing the words of Isaiah, Nephi testified that the Lord would gather His covenant peopleâ€”that even when the people did not live up to their covenants, the Lord loved them and invited them to repent and return to Him.
Show students the picture Isaiah Writes of Christâ€™s Birth (62339; Gospel Art Book , no. 22). Explain that this painting depicts the prophet Isaiah writing a prophecy about the birth of Jesus Christ. Ask how many of them have heard of Isaiah.
Explain that Isaiah was a prophet who lived in Jerusalem and prophesied to the people between 740 B.C. and 701 B.C., not long before Lehi and his family departed for their promised land. Nephi delighted in the words of Isaiah and used Isaiahâ€™s prophecies to teach his family (see 1 Nephi 19:23; 2 Nephi 25:5). Because Isaiahâ€™s words are poetic and filled with symbolism, people sometimes find his teachings difficult to understand. However, we can receive blessings as we study his words and seek to understand them.
Explain that as Nephi taught his family, he read some of the words of Isaiah that had been included in the brass plates. He did this so that he â€œmight more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemerâ€ (1 Nephi 19:23; see also verse 24).
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 20:1â€“2 aloud. Before he or she reads, explain that in this passage, Isaiah speaks to baptized individuals who have been unfaithful to their covenants. You may want to explain the phrase â€œhouse of Israelâ€ by relating the following: The Old Testament contains the history of Jacob, who was Isaacâ€™s son and Abrahamâ€™s grandson. The Lord gave Jacob the name Israel (see Genesis 32:28). The term â€œthe house of Israelâ€ refers to Jacobâ€™s descendants and to the covenant people of the Lord (see Bible Dictionary, â€œIsrael,â€ and â€œIsrael, Kingdom ofâ€).
Invite students to read 1 Nephi 20:3â€“4, 8 silently. Ask them to look for words and phrases showing that the house of Israel had not been faithful to the Lord. Encourage students to share what they find.
Display a piece of metal that is difficult to bend. Ask students what they think it means for someoneâ€™s neck to be â€œan iron sinewâ€ (1 Nephi 20:4). Explain that a sinew is a tendon. Just as iron does not bend easily, a prideful person will not bow his or her neck in humility. The phrase â€œiron sinewâ€ indicates that many people in the house of Israel were filled with pride.
Have a student read 1 Nephi 20:22 aloud.
Why do you think the wicked have no peace?
Remind students that when Nephi shared the prophecies of Isaiah, he urged his brethren, â€œLiken them unto yourselvesâ€ (1 Nephi 19:24).
How were some members of Nephiâ€™s family similar to the people Isaiah called to repentance?
Ask a student to read 1 Nephi 20:14, 16, 20 aloud.
What did the Lord want His covenant people to do and say? (You may need to explain that leaving Babylon and the Chaldeans is symbolic of leaving worldliness behind and coming unto the Lord.)
Invite students to share examples they have seen of people coming to the Lord and leaving behind worldliness. Have students search 1 Nephi 20:18, looking for blessings the Lord gives to those who come to Him and hearken to His commandments.
How can peace be like a river? How can righteousness be like the waves of the sea?
Invite a few students to summarize truths they have learned from 1 Nephi 20. Though they may use different words, make sure they understand that the Lord invites those who have been disobedient to repent and return to Him.
Have a student read the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency. Invite students to ponder how it relates to 1 Nephi 20.
â€œSatan â€¦ wants us to feel that we are beyond forgiveness (see Revelation 12:10). Satan wants us to think that when we have sinned we have gone past a â€˜point of no returnâ€™â€”that it is too late to change our course. â€¦
â€œâ€¦ The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the gift of God to His children to correct and overcome the consequences of sin. God loves all of His children, and He will never cease to love and to hope for us. â€¦
â€œChrist came to save us. If we have taken a wrong course, the Atonement of Jesus Christ can give us the assurance that sin is not a point of no return. A safe return is possible if we will follow Godâ€™s plan for our salvation. â€¦
â€œâ€¦ There is always a point of safe return; there is always hopeâ€ (â€œPoint of Safe Return,â€ Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 99, 101).
How is President Uchtdorfâ€™s message similar to Isaiahâ€™s message?
Testify that the Lord invites those who have been disobedient to repent and return to Him. Assure students that the Lord loves us individually and always invites us to come to Him. Invite them to ponder what the Lord would invite them to leave behind so they can come to Him more completely.
Briefly summarize 1 Nephi 21:1â€“13 by drawing studentsâ€™ attention to the first two statements in the chapter summary: â€œMessiah shall be a light to the Gentiles and shall free the prisonersâ€ and â€œIsrael shall be gathered with power in the last days.â€ Explain that in verses 1â€“13, the Lordâ€™s words reveal His love for His peopleâ€”even for those who have gone astray and have forgotten Him.
On the board, write The Lord loves us, and He will never forget us. Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 21:14 aloud.
Why do you think people sometimes feel that the Lord has forgotten them?
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 21:15â€“16 aloud. Then ask some or all of the following questions:
What does Isaiah teach by comparing the Savior to a mother of an infant?
What does the word graven imply? (You may want to point out that we usually think of engraving on stone or metal in a way that will be permanent.)
What does it mean to you to be graven â€œupon the palms of [the Saviorâ€™s] handsâ€?
What experiences have helped you know that the Lord has not forgotten you?
As students think about these questions and listen to each othersâ€™ answers, they will be prepared to feel the Holy Ghost bear witness of the Savior. Share your testimony about the Saviorâ€™s love. Remind students that Nephi shared Isaiahâ€™s prophecies to persuade us to believe in the Redeemer and to help us have hope.
Place several objects (such as cups) together on a table or chair. Inform students that these objects represent groups of people. Explain that Nephi taught that Israel would be scattered to all nations because they hardened their hearts against the Savior (see 1 Nephi 22:1â€“5). As you speak, move the objects to different parts of the room. Explain that this was an important subject to Nephi. His family was part of the scattering. They had been scattered from Jerusalem, their homeland, because of the wickedness of the people living in the area.
Invite students to read 1 Nephi 21:22â€“23 and 22:6â€“8 silently. Before they read, explain that 1 Nephi 21 includes a prophecy by Isaiah about the gathering of Israel and that 1 Nephi 22 includes Nephiâ€™s teachings about Isaiahâ€™s prophecy.
What is the â€œmarvelous workâ€ mentioned in 1 Nephi 22:7â€“8? (The Restoration of the gospel.)
How can sharing the gospel be like carrying others in our arms or on our shoulders?
To help students understand the scattering and gathering of Israel, you may want to read the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
â€œWhy was Israel scattered? The answer is clear; it is plain; of it there is no doubt. Our Israelite forebears were scattered because they rejected the gospel, defiled the priesthood, forsook the church, and departed from the kingdom. â€¦
â€œWhat, then, is involved in the gathering of Israel? The gathering of Israel consists in believing and accepting and living in harmony with all that the Lord once offered his ancient chosen people. â€¦ It consists of believing the gospel, joining the Church, and coming into the kingdom. â€¦ It may also consist of assembling to an appointed place or land of worshipâ€ (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 515).
Read 1 Nephi 22:9â€“12. Explain that when the scriptures mention the Lord â€œmak[ing] bare his arm,â€ they refer to the Lord showing His power.
In 1 Nephi 22:11, what does Nephi say the Lord will do in the last days to show His power?
How does gathering people into the Church bring them out of captivity and darkness?
Ask students to retrieve the objects from around the room and bring them back together in one location. Explain that gathering can be spiritual as well as physical. As we share the gospel with others and they are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, they are gathered spiritually into the Lordâ€™s Church. During the early days of the Church, new converts were asked to gather physically in one location (for example, Kirtland, Ohio; Nauvoo, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah). Today converts are encouraged to build the Church wherever they are and gather in their local branches, wards, and stakes.
According to 1 Nephi 22:25, what blessings come to those who are gathered by the Lord? What do you think it means to â€œbe one foldâ€? (You may want to explain that a fold is a place where a flock of sheep is protected.) What do you think it means to â€œfind pastureâ€?
In our day, God asks that all Church members assist in gathering â€œhis children from the four quarters of the earthâ€ (1 Nephi 22:25). Testify that the Lord promised to restore the gospel and gather Israel in the latter days.
How do you think those who are gathered (converts) will feel about those who have gathered them (those who have shared the gospel with them)?
What can you do to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others?
Remind students that Nephi quoted Isaiah to help his family members have greater belief and hope in Jesus Christ. Isaiahâ€™s prophecies and Nephiâ€™s testimony can help us in the same way. Testify that Jesus Christ will not forget us and that He is actively seeking to gather us.
Take some time to review 1 Nephi by asking students to recall what they have learned in seminary and their personal study so far this year. You might encourage them to review the chapter summaries in 1 Nephi. Ask them to prepare to share something from the book of 1 Nephi that has inspired them or strengthened their faith in Jesus Christ. After sufficient time, ask several students to share their thoughts and feelings. Consider sharing one of your own experiences about how the teachings in 1 Nephi have blessed your life.