“This Is My Work and My Glory”
Introduction to the Old Testament.
God teaches that Moses is a son of God.
Satan confronts Moses; Moses casts him out.
God appears again and teaches of his work and glory.
A study of this lesson will help us understand that (1) we are children of
God, (2) we can resist Satan's temptations, and (3) God's work and glory is to
bring to pass our immortality and eternal life.
Scripture references for study: Moses
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
notes: Click on links for expanded information.
Lesson 1 Handout (PDF
Introduction to the Old Testament
Some Personal Thoughts.
WHAT IS THE OLD TESTAMENT?
WHAT THOUGHTS FIRST COME TO MIND WHEN YOU THINK OF A STUDY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT?
An ancient, dusty land.
Strange and peculiar laws.
HOW MANY ARE HONESTLY LOOKING FORWARD TO STUDYING THE OLD TESTAMENT FOR
THE NEXT TWELVE MONTHS?
HOW MANY HAVE READ THE OLD TESTAMENT, COVER TO COVER, AT LEAST ONCE?
My personal study of the Old Testament.
In the past my study of the Old Testament has been based on a Missionary Study Guide published by the Council of the Twelve
in May 1971. It states:
"Ordinarily the greatest
value will accrue if the Standard Works are studied in this order: Book
of Mormon, New Testament, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine & Covenants,
the book of Genesis and those portions of the Old Testament which relate
to subjects being studied."
Shortly after after returning from my mission I committed to
reading the Old Testament from cover to cover. It wasn't
easy, but I struggled through it, Genesis to Malachi.
I have studied much of the Old Testament since, but have yet to read it
cover to cover a second time.
In contrast: I have completed over thirty readings of the Book of Mormon,
read the other Standard Works several times, and have read numerous Church
books, particularly related to Church history.
WHY IS IT THAT MANY OF US ARE RELUCTANT TO READ AND STUDY THIS WORK OF
I think it is mostly an attitude problem. The Old Testament is a
book that requires additional effort and study to understand.
Our Study of The Old Testament.
An account of God's dealings with his covenant people from the time of
the creation to a few hundred years before the Savior's birth.
It provides powerful examples of faith and obedience.
It shows the consequences of forgetting, disobeying, or opposing God.
Its prophecies bear witness of the Messiah's birth, redeeming sacrifice,
second coming, and millennial reign.
President Gordon B. Hinckley: "I hope that
for you [studying the scriptures] will become something far more enjoyable
than a duty; rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God.
I promise you that as you read, your minds will be enlightened and your
spirits will be lifted." (Ensign, May 1995, p99)
A study of the Old Testament should strengthen our testimony of the Savior
and our commitment to live his gospel.
If we are guided by the Spirit in this study, we should be able to testify
with Job, "I know that my redeemer liveth, and
that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 19:25).
This course also includes the books of Moses and Abraham from the Pearl
of Great Price.
The lesson manual suggests that we be judicious in our use of commentaries
and other non-scriptural resources. I agree with this recommendation,
though I would suggest use of a good Bible handbook, commentary, and history
of Bible times to help you in understanding the culture and background
of these ancient peoples.
The Old Testament Student Manual (Religion 301), available through
Distribution, is an excellent resource. It includes maps, charts,
and a lot of other good information.
The messages of the Old Testament are best understood through the Spirit.
We Are Children of God
WHAT IS THE SOURCE FOR THE BOOK OF MOSES?
MOSES 1:1-3. God speaks to Moses.
These chapters are part of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.
Moses 1 is a vision that Moses received approximately 3,000 years ago. This vision was revealed to Joseph Smith, the Prophet, in June, 1830.
The subsequent chapters, the writings of Moses, were revealed at different times
during the year 1830.
Resource Note 1.
The Lord says that he would show Moses the "workmanship"
of his hands (Moses 1:4-5). His works are without end. In fact, no man can
behold all the works of God without beholding the full glory of God. That is not possible to do and remain a mortal here upon the earth.
WHO IS MOSES TALKING WITH?
When one reads these verses, it would seem that Moses is communicating with God the Father.
- Consider verse 6: "And I have a work for
thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten;
and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of
grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present
with me, for I know them all."
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "The God here involved
was the Lord Jehovah, though his words were those of the Father; he was,
of course, speaking by divine investiture of authority." (Promised
"And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and
thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten
is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there
is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them
all." (Moses 1:6)
We cannot fully comprehend all that God has done without fully knowing
him and that is not possible here in mortality. Moses will be shown
only a glimpse of the "workmanship" of God.
Moses is shown the world "and the ends thereof" and all
those who belong to this world (Moses
1:7-8). When he was given this glimpse of
the "workmanship" of God, Moses "greatly marveled and wondered."
MOSES 1:9-10. Moses learns that man is
WHAT DID MOSES LEARN ABOUT HIMSELF IN HIS ENCOUNTER WITH THE LORD?
He is a son of God.
DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT MOSES UNDERSTOOD THAT HE WAS A SPIRITUAL SON OF GOD
AND NOT A SON OF GOD IN THE FLESH?
The Lord says in this verse that Moses was created in the similitude of his
Moses knew of his earthly father and mother, Amram and Jochebed. He could only interpret his
son of God as spiritual.
He was created in the "similitude" or likeness of God.
It is not specified in these verses, but as the brother of Jared learned,
that likeness applies to both the physical and spiritual bodies (see
WHAT SIGNIFICANCE DOES THIS REVELATION HOLD FOR US?
Like Moses, our spirits came from the great Creator. As part of the
same mortal family, we are also sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty. We
are also created in his image. If we, indeed, are literal spirit
children of the great Creator, the Eternal Father, we have implanted within
us the seeds of great eternal potential, even to become like him. Knowing this great potential should give us cause to have hope and
and a powerful desire to live
Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "Consider the power
of the idea taught in our beloved song 'I Am a Child of God.' . . . Here
is the answer to one of life's great questions, 'Who am I?' I am a child
of god with a spirit lineage to heavenly parents. That parentage defines
our eternal potential. That powerful idea is a potent antidepressant. It
can strengthen each of us to make righteous choices and to seek the best
that is within us. Establish in the mind of a . . . person the powerful
idea that he or she is a child of God, and you have given self-respect
and motivation to move against the problems of life." (Ensign,
Nov 1995, p25)
In previous verses Moses communed with God and learned of his importance and
After the presence of God withdrew from him, Moses said, "Now
for this cause I know that man is nothing" (v10).
HOW CAN BOTH CONCEPTS BE TRUE?
We have within us the seeds of eternal potential, but we can achieve nothing
without dependence on God.
President Harold B. Lee: "It is a wonderful
thing for us in our younger years to remember what old age brings. Chauncey
Depew, a United States Congressman, was asked on his ninetieth birthday
about his philosophy of life. He replied that when he was a young man his
greatest ambition had been to display his intelligence, but the older he
grew the greater was his anxiety to conceal his ignorance. It was indeed
the beginning of learning when Moses said, after the great and soul-stirring
revelation of the personality of God, 'Now, for this cause I know that
man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.' (Moses 1:10.) That was
the beginning of his wisdom." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p198-199)
Resource Note 2.
We Can Resist Satan's Temptations
MOSES 1:12-15. Satan tempts Moses.
Four times Moses told Satan to depart (see
WHAT DID SATAN COMMAND MOSES TO DO?
WHY DID SATAN REFER TO MOSES AS "SON OF MAN"?
He was attempting to influence the thinking of Moses. The Lord had
referred to him as "son of God," a reference to his spiritual nature and divine potential. Satan wanted Moses to think that he was no greater than any other creature,
a man begotten of the world.
DOES SATAN TAKE A SIMILAR APPROACH WITH US? HOW?
He seeks to make the teachings of men more appealing than the light of
truth. When we accept those teachings, we deny the fact that God is the father
of our spirits.
HOW DOES ONE WORSHIP SATAN?
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "One of Satan's
greatest aims, as he works his nefarious schemes among men, is to get them
'to worship him.' (Moses 1:12; 6:49.) His success in this venture is phenomenal.
As the god of this world, he has the support and, though they may not consciously
realize it, the adoration and worship of all those who live after the manner
of the world. God our Father is worshipped in and through compliance with
his commandments and in no other way. The same is true of Satan."
(Mormon Doctrine, p193)
HOW DID MOSES RESPOND WHEN SATAN CALL HIM "SON OF MAN"?
Moses spoke up for truth when he said, "Who art
thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten"
HOW CAN A STRONG TESTIMONY THAT WE ARE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD HELP US
- Resource Note 3.
WHAT DOES THIS TEACH US ABOUT RESISTING SATAN'S EFFORTS?
Temptation may not flee from us when resisting it just once. It may
come back to haunt us again. We must be prepared, be vigilant, and
keep our lives in order so that we will not be worn down by temptation. As so clearly warned by Alexander Pope:
Sin is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet, seen too oft, familiar with his face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
President Hugh B. Brown: "I say to each
and every one present, you will be equal to any temptation that may come
to you provided you meet it with firmness when it first appears. I repeat,
no man goes to hell in a single jump. Be careful with the first appearance
of evil." (Abundant Life, p73)
HOW DID MOSES GET SATAN TO LEAVE?
"Moses...called upon God, saying: In the name of the
Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan" (Moses 1:21).
HOW CAN PRAYER STRENGTHEN US TO RESIST TEMPTATION?
Brigham Young: "It matters not whether you
or I feel like praying, when the time comes to pray, pray. If we do not
feel like it, we should pray till we do." (Discourses of Brigham
Brigham Young: "If the Devil says you cannot
pray when you are angry, tell him it is none of his business, and pray
until that species of insanity is dispelled and serenity is restored to
the mind." (Ibid., p45)
Resource Note 4.
The Work & Glory of God
After Satan's departure, Moses once again beheld the "glory" of God (Moses
Moses was once again given a vision of the earth, one of the works of God.
As Moses beheld these works of God he asked, "Tell me, I pray
thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?"
"...there was not a particle of it which he did
not behold" (Moses 1:27).
Moses beheld all the "inhabitants" of the earth
and that they were "numberless as the sand upon the sea
shore" (Moses 1:28).
HOW DID THE LORD ANSWER? (see
WHY: "For mine own purpose have I made these
HOW: "...by the word of my power, have I created them, which is
mine Only Begotten Son" (v32).
The Lord then expands on His answer, "And worlds
without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and
by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten" (Moses 1:33).
WHAT MEANING DOES THIS HAVE?
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "Not only
was this earth planned as an architect plans his building but its entire
destiny and the destiny of its inhabitants was considered and known to
the great Architect, before its foundation stones were laid. Our Eternal
Father was not experimenting when this world came into existence. It did
not come by chance. It is not the first of his creations. Millions upon
millions of worlds such as this had rolled into existence before our earth
was born. Every step taken was according to the divine plan, and that plan
was an eternal one, which had been followed in the construction of other
worlds without number unto man. In other worlds the plan of salvation had
been given. Here we are enacting familiar scenes; scenes which are new
to all mortal men, but which are well known to the Father and also to the
Son." (The Way to Perfection, pp35-36)
After touching on the vast expanse of His creations, the Lord states that
he would only give Moses and account of the earth (Moses
1:35). He continues
by stating that "there is no end" to his works (Moses
The Lord more fully answers Moses "why" question when he states,
"For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to
pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).
President David O. McKay: "What is the end
and purpose of religion, swaying the lives of men the centuries through?
The Latter-day Saints answer in the words of the Lord revealed through
the Prophet Joseph that the end and purpose of true religion, which is
the work of God, is '. . . to bring to pass the immortality and eternal
life of man'." (Gospel Ideals, p357)
WHAT IS IMMORTALITY? WHO WILL RECEIVE IT? WHAT IS ETERNAL LIFE? WHO WILL
President James E. Faust: "There is a distinction between immortality,
or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the
presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to
all..., just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is 'the
greatest of all the gifts of God' (D&C 14:7). We obtain this great
gift, according to the Lord, 'if you keep my commandments and endure to
the end.' If we so endure, the promise is, 'you shall have eternal life'
(D&C 14:7)." (Ensign, May 1995, p71)
Neal A. Maxwell: "Fortunately, God is preoccupied
with His children. We (and what we may become) are His work and glory.
(Moses 1:39.) All that He does is for our benefit. (2 Ne. 26:24.) As George
MacDonald said of God, 'He lays no plans irrespective of His children.'
'Worlds and suns and planets,' wrote MacDonald, are but 'a portion of His
workshops and tools for the bringing out of righteous men and women to
fill His house of love'." (Meek and Lowly, p12)
WHAT IS OUR ROLE IN THIS GREAT WORK?
President Gordon B. Hinckley: "We are here to
assist our Father in His work and His glory, 'to bring to pass the immortality
and eternal life of man' (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in
your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling
in this church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit
of our duty touch the lives of others. To each of us in our respective
responsibilities the Lord has said:... 'In doing these things thou wilt
do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory
of him who is your Lord' (D&C 81:4)." (Ensign, May 1995,
President Harold B. Lee: "Again and again
has been repeated the statement that the home is the basis of a righteous
life. With new and badly needed emphasis on the 'how,' we must not lose
sight of the 'why' we are so engaged. The priesthood programs operate in
support of the home; the auxiliary programs render valuable assistance.
Wise regional leadership can help us to do our share in attaining God's
overarching purpose, 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life
of man.' (Moses 1:39.) Both the revelations of God and the learning of
men tell us how crucial the home is in shaping the individual's total life
experience. Running through all this is the urgency of impressing the importance
of better teaching and greater parental responsibility in the home. Much
of what we do organizationally, then, is scaffolding, as we seek to build
the individual, and we must not mistake the scaffolding for the soul."
(Stand Ye In Holy Places, p.309)
A Challenge for 2014
- President Spencer W. Kimball taught, "We renew
our appeal for the keeping of individual histories and accounts of sacred
experiences in our lives-answered prayers, inspiration from the Lord,
administrations in our behalf, a record of the special times and events of our
lives…. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records they
will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your
children, your grandchildren, and others throughout the generations."
(The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p349)
- Journals have a wonderful way of helping us to focus our thoughts on
that which is most important. What if we spent a few minutes each week
recording your thoughts about the Sunday School lesson and scripture
reading? At the end of the year we would have a wonderful treasure of
knowledge and inspiration. As President Kimball states, it will be "a source
of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grandchildren,
- THE CHALLENGE: Obtain a notebook and title it The Gospel
Doctrine Class - Old Testament. Each Sunday spend 10-20 minutes
recording your thoughts about the teachings and scriptures for the current
lesson. I believe that you will find at the end of the year you will have a
greater appreciation for the Old Testament and its teachings. I believe that
you will be inspired to live better and more fully implement the teachings
of the scriptures into your daily life.
- Moses 1 teaches the powerful doctrine that we are sons and daughters of God.
We should take time to ponder the significance of this great and eternal truth
and record our thoughts about this truth and other truths learned from Moses 1
in our Old Testament Journal.
Resources Used In This Lesson
Discourses of Brigham Young edited by John A. Widtsoe.
Gospel Ideals by David O. McKay.
Meek and Lowly by Neal A. Maxwell.
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
Stand Ye In Holy Places by Harold B. Lee.
Studies In Scripture, Volume 2: The Pearl of Great Price edited by Robert L.
Millet and Kent P. Jackson.
The Abundant Life by Hugh B. Brown.
The Promised Messiah by Bruce R. McConkie.
The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.
The Way to Perfection by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
20 November 2013