“Joseph Smith—Matthew,” The Pearl of Great Price: Teacher Manual (2017)
“Joseph Smith—Matthew,” The Pearl of Great Price: Teacher Manual
Shortly before His death, the Savior met with His disciples on the Mount of Olives and prophesied concerning events that would shortly come to pass, as well as events surrounding the last days and His Second Coming. These prophecies are recorded in the Bible in Matthew 24.
As the Prophet Joseph Smith worked on his inspired revision of the Bible, he made many changes to Matthew 24. The Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 24 is printed as “Joseph Smith—Matthew” in the Pearl of Great Price. The Lord also revealed additional information pertaining to this discourse on the Mount of Olives, which is recorded in section 45 of the Doctrine and Covenants (see D&C 45:15–61).
Ask students to compare Matthew 23:39 to Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1. Discuss how the changes the Prophet Joseph Smith made to this verse help us better understand what Jesus said. You may also want to compare Matthew 24:1 to Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:2; Matthew 24:2 to Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:3; and Matthew 24:3 to Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:4. Review together the insights and commentary under “What Is Joseph Smith—Matthew?”; “When Did the Prophet Joseph Smith Translate This Portion of the Bible?”; “What Are Some of the Changes the Prophet Made to Matthew 24?”; “How Did Joseph Smith—Matthew Become a Part of the Pearl of Great Price?”; and “Why, among the Many Parts of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, Did the Translation of Matthew 24 Become a Part of Our Standard Works?” in the student manual. You may want to suggest that students consider writing notes in the margins of Joseph Smith—Matthew describing what they learn about these verses (for example, Joseph Smith added nearly 450 words to the biblical text ). Invite students to share how these changes testify of the divine inspiration of the Joseph Smith Translation.
The Organization of Joseph Smith—Matthew
introduction, including the disciples’ questions
prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem
prophecies about the latter days, the end of the world, and the Second Coming
You may want to suggest that students mark their scriptures in a way that reflects the three-part organization of Joseph Smith—Matthew 1, using lines, boxes, notes, or different colors. This chapter, known also as the Olivet Discourse (because the Savior and His disciples were on the Mount of Olives), is organized as follows: (1) verses 1–4 are the introduction, including the disciples’ questions; (2) verses 5–21 are prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem that would occur shortly after Jesus’s death; and (3) verses 21–55 are prophecies about the latter days, the end of the world, and the Second Coming. Because the Prophet Joseph Smith rearranged several verses during his inspired revision, this organization is much more apparent in Joseph Smith—Matthew than in Matthew 24.
Ask students to find three events that Jesus prophesied would happen in the days shortly after His death and also in the latter days (see verses 6 and 22; verses 10 and 30; verses 12 and 32). Which latter-day event did Jesus prophesy about twice (see verses 23, 28)? Remind students that Doctrine and Covenants 45:15–61 contains more information from the Olivet Discourse. Invite two students to take turns reading Doctrine and Covenants 45:9–10, 15–17 aloud. Discuss why Jesus gave these two prophecies to His disciples of old, and why they have been repeated in our scriptures today.
Display the following statement by President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973), and invite a few students to take turns reading it aloud. Then discuss why the scriptures should be our primary source for learning about the events of the last days.
“There are among us many loose writings predicting the calamities which are about to overtake us. Some of these have been publicized as though they were necessary to wake up the world to the horrors about to overtake us. Many of these are from sources upon which there cannot be unquestioned reliance.
“Are you … aware of the fact that we need no such publications to be forewarned, if we were only conversant with what the scriptures have already spoken to us in plainness? …
“Read the 24th chapter of Matthew—particularly that inspired version as contained in the Pearl of Great Price [Joseph Smith—Matthew].
“Then read the 45th section of the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord, not man, has documented the signs of the times.
“Finally, turn to the promises the Lord makes to those who keep the commandments when these judgments descend upon the wicked, as set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 38.
“… These are some of the writings with which you should concern yourselves, rather than commentaries that may come from those whose information may not be the most reliable and whose motives may be subject to question” (Harold B. Lee, “Admonitions for the Priesthood of God,” Ensign, Jan. 1973, 106).