Book of Mormon
Great the Goodness of Our God”
Through His Atonement, Jesus Christ offers redemption from temporal death
and spiritual death.
Certain attitudes and actions prevent us from receiving all the blessings
of the Atonement.
The Lord remembers His covenants with His people.
A study of this lesson will help us understand our need for the Atonement of
Jesus Christ and teach us how to receive all the blessings of the Atonement.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 8 Handout (PDF)
2 Nephi 6
Nephi has included the teachings of his brother
Jacob beginning with 2 Nephi 6. Jacob's teaching continues through 2 Nephi 10. In chapters
7 and 8, Jacob quotes the words of Isaiah as contained Isaiah 50 and Isaiah 51.
"The words of Jacob, the brother
of Nephi, which he spake unto the people of Nephi." (2 Nephi
We do not know the setting of Jacob's sermon. Given its placement in 2 Nephi we can presume that it was after the people of Nephi fled
from among the people of Laman and Lemuel. Given the content of this
great sermon, I would assume that Jacob was teaching in a conference like
setting. Consider the love and passion of this great teacher for
"Behold, my beloved brethren,
I, Jacob, having been called of God, and ordained after the manner of his
holy order, and having been consecrated by my brother Nephi, unto whom
ye look as a king or a protector, and on whom ye depend for safety, behold
ye know that I have spoken unto you exceedingly many things.
"Nevertheless, I speak
unto you again; for I am desirous for the welfare of your souls.
Yea, mine anxiety is great for you; and ye yourselves know that
it ever has been. For I have exhorted you with all diligence; and
I have taught you the words of my father; and I have spoken unto you concerning
all things which are written, from the creation of the world." (2
Nephi previously quoted from the words Isaiah. Jacob
is about to base his sermon on the writings of Isaiah.
In previous lessons we discussed the fact that the Book of Mormon was written
and prepared for us in our day.
Nephi, Jacob, and Mormon felt so strongly about Isaiah's teachings that
they included significant portions of his writings on the plates.
2 NEPHI 6:4-5. Jacob speaks of the words of Isaiah
for the sake of the people.
WHAT REASONS DID JACOB GIVE FOR QUOTING ISAIAH?
The words of Isaiah speak of things which "are, and which are to come."
Jacob spoke these words at the request of Nephi.
They were spoken for our benefit, that we "may learn and glorify the name
His words concern the house of Israel.
The words of Isaiah may be "likened" unto us, for we are of the house of
2 NEPHI 6:6-7. Jacob quotes
WHAT IS THE "STANDARD" OF WHICH JACOB AND ISAIAH SPEAK?
Marion G. Romney: "This Church is the standard
which Isaiah said the Lord would set up for the people in the latter days. This Church was given to be a light to the world and to be a standard for
God's people and for the Gentiles to seek to. This Church is the
ensign on the mountain spoken of by the Old Testament prophets. It
is the way, the truth, and the life." (Conference Report, April
Jacob provides additional commentary on this verse:
2 NEPHI 6:12-13. Blessed are the Gentiles if
- Those who rally to the "standard," in other words, those that repent and turn away
from wickedness, "shall be saved."
Brigham Young: "My heart is comforted. I
behold the people of God, that they have been hunted, cast out, driven
from the face of men. The powers of earth and hell have striven to destroy
this Kingdom from the earth. The wicked have succeeded in doing so in former
ages; but this Kingdom they cannot destroy, because it is the last dispensation—because
it is the fulness of times. It is the dispensation of all dispensations,
and will excel in magnificence and glory every dispensation that has ever
been committed to the children of men upon the earth. The Lord will bring
again Zion, redeem his Israel, plant his standard upon the earth, and establish
the laws of his Kingdom, and those laws will prevail." (Discourses
of Brigham Young, p442)
WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO OPPOSE THE WORK OF ZION?
See 2 Nephi 6:17-18.
Heber C. Kimball: "I know that if this people
will do right, our enemies, those who lay snares and gins to ensnare the
servants of the living God, shall be slain by the sword of His wrath, and
shall have no power to fight against God, nor against Zion, and all Israel
shall say, AMEN." (JD, 4:177)
- The footnote to "standard" in 2 Nephi/Isaiah refers to the word "ensign."
- WHAT IS AN ENSIGN?
- One of the ancient Hebrew meanings for this word refers to "a standard or
signal or flag placed on high mountains to point out to the people a place of
rendezvous on the invasion of an enemy."
- As we approach the second advent of Jesus Christ, the battle between good
and evil continues to grow ever more intense. Indeed, the enemy has
invaded, but the ensign has been raised and the forces of good are gathering to
it. The Church is the ensign or standard of truth where we can assemble
for strength, for truth, and for salvation from the enemy.
2 Nephi 7 & 8
2 Nephi 7.
Isaiah 50 (2 Nephi 7) is referred to as the Third Servant Song. In
Isaiah there are four "Servant Songs" in which Isaiah describes the Lord.
"Yea, for thus saith the Lord:
Have I put thee away, or have I cast thee off forever? For thus saith the
Lord: Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement? To whom have I put
thee away, or to which of my creditors have I sold you? Yea, to whom have
I sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for
your transgressions is your mother put away." (2 Nephi 7:1)
- WHAT IS THE LORD, THROUGH ISAIAH AND JACOB, TELLING THE PEOPLE?
- Brother Robert L. Millett: "Although Israel has
'sold herself' through repeated transgression, although she has rejected
her God and his everlasting covenant, although the people of the covenant
have been disloyal to the royal within them, yet the decree is sure: Jehovah
has not and will not cast them off forever." (Studies In Scripture,
2 Nephi 8.
Isaiah (see also Isaiah 51 through 52:2) prophesies
about the Last Days.
Verses 9-11 contain a plea to the Lord from
his people to act in their behalf
as he did anciently when parting the Red Sea to deliver Israel.
"Therefore, the redeemed of
the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting
joy and holiness shall be upon their heads; and they shall obtain gladness
and joy; sorrow and mourning shall flee away." (v11)
In this same way he will gather his children in the latter days from throughout
the earth and bring them to Zion where there shall be gladness and everlasting
Verses 17-18 contain a call from the Lord for the Jewish nation to awake and rise
again and return to their God, the Holy One of Israel.
2 NEPHI 8:19-20. Two sons full of the fury of
WHO ARE THESE "TWO SONS"?
The footnote in verse 19 refers to Revelation 11:3 and the two witnesses
"And I will give power unto my two witnesses,
and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed
Brother Christian M. Ziebarth: "John the
Revelator told of 'two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish
nation in the last days' (D&C 77:15; see Revelation 11:3–12), likely
'members of the Council of the Twelve or of the First Presidency of the
Church,' to testify of their wickedness. Their words too would torment
carnal minds until the only resort for those who will not heed their counsel
to repent is to kill the prophets." (Journal of Book of Mormon
Studies, Vol 4, Number 2, p153)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "And these two
shall be followers of that humble man, Joseph Smith, through whom the Lord
of Heaven restored the fulness of his everlasting gospel in this final
dispensation of grace. No doubt they will be members of the Council of
the Twelve or of the First Presidency of the Church. Their prophetic ministry
to rebellious Jewry shall be the same in length as was our Lord's personal
ministry among their rebellious forebears." (DNTC, 3:510-511)
Through the power of the Lord, Jerusalem shall prevail (see
verses 21-25). The period of Jerusalem's rejection is over. She will never have
to suffer banishment and destruction again. The cup of suffering
will now be given to those who have caused the Jews so much suffering (see
2 Nephi 9
I do not know how anyone could read this chapter and believe that the Book
of Mormon was fraudulently written. This chapter is a testimony to the divine source of this book.
Joseph Smith: "The fundamental principles
of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning
Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and
ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion
are only appendages to it." (TPJS, p121)
WHAT DOES 2 NEPHI 9 CONTRIBUTE TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF GOD'S PLAN FOR OUR SALVATION?
Death has passed upon all men to fulfill the merciful plan of the great
As discussed in Lesson
6, death was not an accident caused by Adam's transgression, but part
of an eternal plan put in place for the benefit of God's children.
As Lehi stated, there must be "opposition in all things." Death is necessary to understand and bring about eternal life.
Jacob speaks of men passing from "the first death into life" (v15).
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "Death is just
as important in the welfare of man as is birth. There is no greater
blessing that can come than the blessing of birth. One third of the
hosts of heaven, because of rebellion, were denied that privilege, and
hence they have no bodies of flesh and bones, that great gift of God.
"But who would like to
live forever in this mundane world, filled with pain, decay, sorrow, and
tribulation, and grow old and infirm and yet have to remain with all the
vicissitudes of mortality? I think all of us would come to the conclusion,
if that proposition were placed before us, that we would not like to have
it. We would reject it. We would not want life of that nature. Life here in this world is short of necessity, and yet all
that is required
may be accomplished, but death is just as important in the plan of salvation
as birth is. We have to die--it is essential--and death comes into
the world 'to fulfill the merciful plan of the great creator'."
(Doctrines of Salvation, 1:116)
Because of the fall, all men are cut off from the presence of God. Consequently, as Jacob states, there "must needs be an infinite atonement"
WHAT IS AN INFINITE ATONEMENT?
The atonement is infinite in that it overcomes physical death for all mankind.
The atonement is infinite in that its influence extends to all worlds created by
the Lord (consider
The atonement is infinite in the sense that the Lord is an infinite being.
Jesus Christ is able to do for us what we simply could not do for ourselves.
We do not have the power to raise ourselves to immortality and pay the
price for our sins.
His was a sinless offering.
He was able to do this because of who he is: A man who was the son of a
mortal mother and the great eternal Father.
From his Father he inherited the powers of immortality--the capacity to
If there were no atonement and resurrection "our spirits must become
subject to...the devil to rise no more" (v7-9).
WHY WOULD OUR SPIRITS BECOME SUBJECT TO SATAN IF THERE WERE NO RESURRECTION?
If, in fact, there were no resurrection then there would have been no atoning
sacrifice by Jesus Christ. Then there would have been no power to
allow us to overcome the affects of death and sin. Consequently,
our spirits would have become subject to him who rules over the place where
only spirits reside for eternity.
Bruce R. McConkie: "Our spirits, stained with
sin, unable to cleanse themselves, would be subject to the author of sin
everlastingly; we would be followers of Satan; we would be sons of perdition."
(A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, pp129-130)
Temporal death is the grave, spiritual death is hell.
bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other...by the
power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel" (v11-12).
After the resurrection we must "appear before the judgment seat"
The unrepentant will have a "perfect knowledge" of their guilt and
uncleanness and their nakedness (v14).
The righteous "shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and
their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe
of righteousness" (v14-15).
WHO ARE THE RIGHTEOUS? (see v18)
They who have believed in the Holy One of Israel.
They who have endured the crosses of the world and despised the shame of
The Lord came into the world to save all men if they hearken unto his voice
WHAT DOES THE LORD COMMAND MEN TO DO? (see v23-24)
Have faith in the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
Be baptized in his name.
Endure to the end.
The atonement satisfies the demands of justice upon all who have not received
"Where there is no law given there is not punishment" (v25-26).
James E. Talmage: "According to the technical
definition of sin it consists in the violation of law, and in this strict
sense sin may be committed inadvertently or in ignorance. It is plain,
however, from the scriptural doctrine of human responsibility and the unerring
justice of God, that in his transgressions as in his righteous deeds man
will be judged according to his ability to comprehend and obey law. To him who has never been made acquainted with a higher law the requirements
of that law do not apply in their fulness. For sins committed without
knowledge--that is, for laws violated in ignorance--a propitiation has
been provided in the atonement wrought through the sacrifice of the Savior;
and sinners of this class do not stand condemned, but shall be given opportunity
yet to learn and to accept or reject the principles of the Gospel."
(Articles of Faith, p58)
Jacob's list of warnings or "woes".
Wo to those that have the law and transgresses it and wastes "the days
of his probation" (27).
"O that cunning plan of the evil
one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When
they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the
counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves,
wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they
shall perish. But to be learned is good if
they hearken unto the counsels of God." (2 Nephi 9:28-29)
"But the things of the wise and
the prudent shall be hid from them forever--yea, that happiness which is
prepared for the saints." (2 Nephi 9:43)
Wo unto the rich (v30).
They despise the poor, persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their
treasures. Their treasures become their gods.
Wo unto the deaf that will not hear (v31).
Wo unto the blind that will not see (v32).
Wo unto the uncircumscribed of heart (v33).
These are they who may outwardly appear clean--whose actions seem to accord
with the prescribed patterns of living--but whose hearts are corrupt, whose
minds lust after the things of this world.
Wo unto the liars, murderers, and they who commit whoredoms (v34-36).
Wo unto those that worship idols (v37).
Those who rivet their attention and focus their affections upon anything
other than the true and living God.
Wo unto all those who die in their sins (the procrastinators?) (v38).
The words of truth are hard against all uncleanness (v40).
The way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course. There
is no other way than by the gate = the Holy One of Israel (v41).
The course is narrow, but it is straight and true. There are no tricks
involved in obtaining one's reward. One must simply follow the
Jacob gives emphasis to that which he has taught:
"O, my beloved brethren, remember
my words. Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you;
I pray the God of my salvation that he view me with his all-searching eye;
wherefore, ye shall know at the last day, when all men shall be judged
of their works, that the God of Israel did witness that I shook your iniquities
from my soul, and that I stand with brightness before him, and am rid of
your blood." (2 Nephi 9:44)
"Wherefore, do not spend your money for that which is of no worth, nor
your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto
me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy
One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be
corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness." (2
2 Nephi 10
Jacob stated that "it has been shown unto me that
many of our children shall perish in the flesh because of unbelief"
Jacob says of the Jews that "because of their iniquities,
destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they
who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations" (v6).
Consider the mercy of the Lord for his wayward children,
if they repent.
"God will be merciful unto many; and our children
shall be restored, that they may come to that which will give them the
true knowledge of their Redeemer" (v2).
behold, thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they shall believe
in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that
they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of
their inheritance. And it shall come to pass
that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles
of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the
Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in carrying them
forth to the lands of their inheritance."
(2 Nephi 10:7-8)
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO US?
Elder Boyd K. Packer: "The
discouraging idea that a mistake (or even a series of them) makes it everlastingly
too late, does not come from the Lord. He has said that if we will
repent, not only will He forgive us our transgressions, but He will forget
them and remember our sins no more (see Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17;
Alma 36:19; D&C 58:42)." (Ensign,
May 1989, p59)
Jacob concludes this great sermon.
cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves--to
choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not
to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled
unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and
also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be
received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace
(2 Nephi 10:23-25)
WHY SHOULD WE CHEER UP OUR HEARTS?
The Lord remembers his people (v22).
We can choose our eternal destiny (v23). We
are eternal beings, endowed with the opportunity to choose our course for
eternity. We are not mere animals that evolved by happenstance. If we were, our destiny would end at death. That should be enough
to "cheer our hearts."
After we are reconciled to God, through Christ we
are saved. The bands of death and hell have been broken, thus allowing
us to choose our eternal destiny.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the teachings of Jacob as discussed in
this lesson. What meaning do these teachings have in your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
A New Witness for the Articles of Faith by Bruce R. McConkie.
Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage.
Conference Reports (CR).
Discourses of Brigham Young.
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary by Bruce R. McConkie (DNTC).
Doctrines of Salvation of Joseph Fielding Smith.
Journal of Discourses (JD).
Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.
Studies In Scripture, vol. 7, edited by Kent P. Jackson.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS).
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
28 December 2015