“Unit 5: Day 1, Abraham 3,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 5: Day 1,” Old Testament Study Guide
Before Abraham went to Egypt, the Lord spoke with him by both the Urim and Thummim and face to face and instructed him about stars and planets. The Lord told Abraham to declare what he learned to the people in Egypt. The Lord also showed Abraham many other things, including the Council in Heaven and Heavenly Father’s selection of Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the world.
- Write the following statements in your scripture study journal. Then take a moment to list some ways to complete the first statement. Leave room to complete the second statement later in the lesson.
The world tells me I am great if …
Real qualities of greatness include …
Abraham 3 contains the account of the Lord teaching Abraham about the stars (see verses 1–18), which helped Abraham understand the greatness of God’s children and His creations (see verses 19–28). Abraham received this revelation through the Urim and Thummim, an instrument given to seers to assist them in receiving revelation and translating languages. Look for what the Lord taught Abraham about true greatness as you study this revelation.
Abraham 3:4–13 tells us what Abraham learned about the planets and stars. For example, one day for Kolob is equivalent to 1,000 years on Earth (see verse 4). The Lord also showed Abraham His creations and made him an important promise. Read Abraham 3:14, looking for what the Lord promised Abraham. In this context, the promise of innumerable seed is a promise of godhood, which includes eternal posterity.
Look at “A Facsimile from the Book of Abraham, No. 2.” This facsimile was part of a collection of Egyptian papyri purchased from an antiquities dealer by some of the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio. The facsimile contains symbolic figures relating to the planets and stars and the Lord’s plan of salvation. Other than the explanations provided by the Prophet Joseph Smith, we have no additional revelation about the facsimile from modern prophets.
Read Abraham 3:19, 21, looking for what Abraham learned about the Lord Jesus Christ. One truth Abraham learned is that Jesus Christ is the greatest and most intelligent of all Heavenly Father’s children.
Notice the word intelligent in verse 19. In the scriptures, the word intelligence often refers to light and truth. We gain intelligence by obeying God’s commandments, so the more obedient we are, the greater our intelligence can be. (See D&C 93:28, 36.) Jesus is the nearest to and most like Heavenly Father because of the light and truth He has received through His perfect obedience.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can knowing that Jesus Christ is the most intelligent, or obedient, of all our Heavenly Father’s children help you exercise faith in Him?
Think about a time you learned or discovered something new about yourself. For example, you may have discovered a new talent or an interest in a particular hobby.
Abraham 3:22–23 teaches us that the Lord taught Abraham more about himself while showing him a vision of the Council in Heaven, which occurred before the earth was created. Read Abraham 3:22–23, looking for what Abraham learned about himself. (Abraham 3:22–23 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it in the future.)
Did you notice who Abraham saw gathered together in heaven? In verse 22, the word intelligences refers to spirit children of God. Abraham learned that he was a noble and great spirit. An important doctrine we learn from these verses is that Heavenly Father chose His noble and great children before they were born to become rulers and leaders upon the earth.
What made these spirit children of God noble and great? The greatness of these spirits was due to their willingness to be obedient to Heavenly Father and follow Jesus Christ in their premortal life.
As you read the following statement, mark words and phrases indicating that you, too, were chosen or foreordained in the premortal life to fulfill certain responsibilities on the earth:
“In the premortal spirit world, God appointed certain spirits to fulfill specific missions during their mortal lives. This is called foreordination. …
“The doctrine of foreordination applies to all members of the Church, not just to the Savior and His prophets. Before the creation of the earth, faithful women were given certain responsibilities and faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood duties. Although you do not remember that time, you surely agreed to fulfill significant tasks in the service of your Father” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 69–70).
- Read Abraham 3:22–23 again, and then answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can knowing you were chosen in the premortal life to “fulfill significant tasks in the service of your [Heavenly] Father” (True to the Faith, 70) inspire your choices and actions in mortality?
Consider some of the things that might prevent someone in mortality from fulfilling the tasks God foreordained or chose him or her to do.
Think about how you would complete the following statement: The test of life is …
Study Abraham 3:24–25, looking for what the test of life is. The word prove in this passage means to test. Based on what you learned from verses 24–25, complete the following principle: The test of life is to determine if we will .
Remember, this test began in our premortal life, or our “first estate.” The scriptures refer to our choosing, as spirits, to be obedient to God’s commandments and follow His plan as keeping our first estate. Read Abraham 3:26, looking for the blessing Heavenly Father planned to give to each of His spirit children who kept their first estate.
To “be added upon” (Abraham 3:26) means that those who chose to follow Heavenly Father’s plan in the premortal life were given the opportunity to receive a physical body. Those who rebelled against Heavenly Father’s plan and did not keep their first estate would neither receive a physical body nor have the opportunity to attain any kingdom of glory.
The second estate refers to the time between our mortal birth and the Final Judgment. To keep our second estate, we must accept and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, including obeying all that Heavenly Father commands us to do.
Use Abraham 3:26 to complete the following principle: If we do all that Heavenly Father commands us to do, then .
Think about the following questions: What are you doing that your Heavenly Father is pleased with? What specifically could you do better to be more obedient to all of Heavenly Father’s commandments?
As you read Abraham 3:27–28, consider who the two spirits were who responded to Heavenly Father’s question.
Jesus Christ was the first of those spirits who responded, and Lucifer (or Satan) was the second. Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior and to set an example of righteousness for all of God’s children. In contrast, Lucifer rebelled against Heavenly Father’s plan and persuaded many of God’s children not to follow the Father’s plan. Because Satan and his followers did not keep their first estate, they were cast out of heaven and lost the opportunity to receive a body. Therefore, they are not able to progress toward eternal glory.
Now that you have studied Abraham 3, complete the second sentence you wrote in your journal at the beginning of the lesson: Real qualities of greatness include …
Think about ways you can draw closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through obedience to Their commandments.
Personalize a portion of Abraham 3:22–23 by replacing Abraham’s name in verse 23 with your own. Then memorize the last part of the passage: “[Your name], thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.”
- After you can recite the phrase from memory, find a family member or friend, and use Abraham 3:22–23 to explain what the Lord taught Abraham about the pre-earth life. Explain that each of us agreed to serve Heavenly Father in some way before we were born. Then recite the phrase you memorized. Record your experience completing this assignment in your scripture study journal.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Abraham 3 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: