“Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1–21,” The Pearl of Great Price Teacher Manual (2017)
“Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1–21,” The Pearl of Great Price Teacher Manual
In New Testament times Satan and his followers used lies, violence, hatred, betrayal, and sin in efforts to overcome the righteous. This ushered in the period of the Great Apostasy (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:5–11; see also Matthew 24:4–5, 9–13; John 15:18–20; Acts 20:29–30; 2 Peter 2:1–3, 12–15).
Jesus Christ warned His disciples in Jerusalem of the impending destruction of that city so they could prepare both spiritually and temporally (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:11–18; see also Matthew 24:15–21; D&C 87:8; 101:22–23).
The destruction of the temple by the Romans in AD 70 and the scattering of the Jews was just the beginning of the persecution that has been brought against the Jews (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:19; see also Matthew 24:8; 1 Nephi 19:13–14; 2 Nephi 6:10; 10:3–6; 25:9–15).
Because of the covenant God made with the house of Israel, Jesus said that God would not allow the wicked to completely destroy the Jews (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:20; see also Matthew 24:22; 1 Nephi 19:15–17; 2 Nephi 6:11, 14; 2 Nephi 10:7; 25:16–18; 3 Nephi 20:29–31).
Ask students to identify what the disciples asked Jesus in Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:2, 4. Explain to students that the prophecies in this chapter are Jesus’s answers to His disciples’ questions.
Invite students to find in Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:5–10 the ways Church members in New Testament times would be overcome and fall away from the truth. (Note especially the word deceive in verses 5, 6, 9; see also verses 22, 37.) You may want to suggest that students mark what they find in their scriptures. Invite a student to read verse 11 aloud, and ask students what we can do to remain “steadfast” against these obstacles. Display the following statement by the First Presidency, and invite a student to read it aloud:
“In the providence of the Almighty persecution serves a most useful purpose. Every faithful Saint must perceive and acknowledge this. Each one feels its effect upon himself; he sees its effect upon his friends and neighbors. Persecution develops character. Under its influence we all know ourselves better than we did before we felt its pressure; and we discover traits in our brethren and sisters of the existence of which, perhaps, we were in entire ignorance” (First Presidency, in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , 3:48).
Ask a few students to take turns reading Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:12; Doctrine and Covenants 45:32; 87:8; 101:22–23 aloud while the rest of the class follows along. Invite students to share what they think it means to “stand in holy places.” Display the following statement by President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973), and ask a student to read it aloud:
“As one studies the commandments of God, it seems to be made crystal clear that the all-important thing is not where we live but whether or not our hearts are pure” (Harold B. Lee, in Conference Report, Oct. 1968, 62).
Ask students to summarize the counsel Jesus gave His disciples in Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:13–17. Compare what the Lord said in these verses to Doctrine and Covenants 133:7–15. Invite students to suggest ways they could prepare both spiritually and temporally for the coming of the Lord.
Display and invite a student to read aloud the commentary under “Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:19. ‘Only the Beginning of the Sorrows’” in the student manual. Explain to students that the Lord prophesied in Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:19–20 that the Jews would suffer great persecutions, but that some would survive. Invite several students to take turns reading 1 Nephi 15:19–20; 19:15; 2 Nephi 6:11, 14; 10:7; 29:4–5; 30:2–7; 3 Nephi 29:8–9 aloud while the rest of the class follows along. Ask students to summarize the prophetic destiny of the Jews who come unto Christ in the latter days.