Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

BoM Lesson 6

Posted by BrianJ on February 3, 2008

Following a lesson schedule can be harrowing: last week we covered 7 chapters that included such topics as the Liahona, Nephi’s boat, and two chapters of Isaiah. This week might seem a bit more manageable—only two chapters to cover—until one looks at what is in these chapters….

Additional Resources:
Jim F’s lesson notes.
‘Feast wiki’ pages for Chapter 1 and Chapter 2
(And let me highly recommend looking at the commentary for 2 Nephi 1:10—very interesting.)

I write up questions each week and email then to my class. Below are a few of them—ones I’ll probably focus on when it comes time to teach:

Chapter 1
v. 10 Follow the link above to the Feast wiki. I find it intriguing to read this entire chapter in terms of the temple.
v. 20 What does “prosper” mean? If it means wealth/health, do we really believe it: that the righteous will always be blessed with wealth and health? The sentence structure implies that “cut off from [the Lord’s] presence” is the opposite of “prosper.” Is that how you read it?
v. 24-26 How can we see Nephi as a type of Christ? What insight do we gain from that view? I would hate for this question to turn into a matching game: Nephi did x, Jesus did X; Nephi did y, Jesus did Y; and so on. My hope is to focus on what it actually means (i.e., the second question). I’m especially interested in this as an extension of the temple theme in verse 10.
v. 12-32 Is Lehi talking to his actual sons, or to his future descendants? How important is it that we see this chapter not as a group discussion or sermon, but rather as Nephi describes it: a father’s blessing?

Chapter 2
v. 3-4 What makes Lehi so confident in Jacob’s eventual redemption? Can we have a similar faith? It what sense do you think that Jacob “beheld [Christ’s] glory”? Describe what is meant by, “salvation is free”.
v. 5 What law is referred to? Why does Lehi use the singular instead of plural? Are there multiple laws from God, or just one law? Why are men cut off by the law? Are there laws by which we are not “cut off” (see here for some discussion)? See also Galatians 2:19-21:

“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

v. 6-7 What does the “wherefore” signify at the beginning of this verse? “Redemption come through the Messiah because ________?” What makes redemption possible? How does Christ’s sacrifice “answer the ends of the law”? What does that even mean? We sometimes talk of a “debt” that is “paid” for us by Christ—but what really is that debt and to whom (or what) is it paid? Is there another way to understand “answer the ends of the law”? What are some meanings of the words “answer” and “ends”? Could this phrase be translated differently:

  • …answer the ends of the law
  • …respond to the purposes/intentions of the law
  • …solve the limits/extremities of the law
  • …conform to the ultimate states of the law
  • …fulfill the remnants of the law

Think about the phrase “unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.” Does this describe some interaction between God and Law (i.e., Christ responds to some demand made by the Law), or a relationship between God and Man (i.e., Christ administers the ends of the law to the penitent)? Do we see Christ’s “answer” to the law as freeing us from punishment or endowing us with a blessing? Note how this phrase is used in verse 10.
v. 12 Since “purpose” and “end” can sometimes be synonymous, what does this verse mean?
v. 13-14 Why does Lehi divide the creation between “things to act” and “things to be acted upon”? Are humans the only part of creation that “acts” and is not “acted upon”?

– skipping a lot, because I know I will run out of time –

v. 27 Notice how Lehi puts things in terms of the two churches, the one of the Lamb of God and the other of the devil (Cf. 1 Nephi 13). If we read these chapters as a temple-like experience, how is that relevant to our temple experience?

14 Responses to “BoM Lesson 6”

  1. Cherylem said

    I just want to say I agree with the “harrowing” part. If I can steal a moment to express true frustration – with my own teaching – I feel like the whole lesson got away from me this week. Class members had things they wanted to bring to the lesson. I just wanted to point out the similarities between the Exodus story and the story related by Nephi, and why that was important. There was so much to cover – I had a splitting HEADACHE – I left class just feeling drained and rather like giving up.

    I guess I’ll take this opportunity to remind all of us GD teachers and other teachers – including myself – that we are are the teacher of the moment, called and set apart. Sometimes when the lessons don’t “work” like we want them to, we have to rely on that foundation.

    And for all of us also, including myself, it served as a reminder to me to cut all teachers some slack. We all do the best we can. We won’t be everyone’s idea of the ideal, but when we walk away feeling we’re so far from that ideal as to be in another universe, it really helps when our class members can just cut us some slack.

    Sorry for this threadjack, and thanks for these great notes. But I was really glad you included the “harrowing” comment, to which I can relate only too well.

  2. Lisa F. said

    Brian — I have learned from (and used some) of your notes in my own teachings. Thank you for bringing so many resources together.

    The ends of the law — I have been thinking of that as well. I wonder, since it is plural, if a law has two ends (at least). The one extreme is the result of keeping that law. The other end of the law is the result if we break it.

    Equating “purpose” with “end of” makes sense to me as well.

    Cherylem — Your handouts and understanding are remarkable (I loved every single New Testament post — thanks!) and have made a difference in how I examine what I am reading. Lesson 5 was huge. We barely got out of 16. I just try to read, ask for guidance about what will be most useful this week, and pick a very narrow piece of what is available. 2 Nephi 2 was quoted more often in General Conference (since 1945) than any other chapter (!). (www.scriptures.byu.edu)

  3. brianj said

    Cheryl—my heart goes out to you. Sometimes I come home and tell my wife, “My lesson stunk today.” Then I get a phone call from someone in class thanking me for an excellent lesson. I’ll never understand! Like you say though: cut all teachers some slack (including yourself).

    Lisa F—It is very encouraging to hear that people find my notes useful. I like what you suggest about two ends to the law—like a two-edged sword?

  4. cherylem said

    I followed your links and read Jim’s notes and the WIKI notes – all incredibly helpful as I’m preparing my own notes for this Sunday.

    In fact, Jim, your study questions regarding chapter 2 are absolutely great.

    I’ve typed out my friend Mack Stirling’s notes on these two chapters. They are rather complete and I want to get his permission before posting – but I think they will be a significant addition to this mix.

    Regarding one of the questions in your post, I think to prosper in the [promised] land is to enjoy the presence of God (see Deut. 28:9 – what is an “holy” people?, also see Deut. 29:9)

    Lisa, thanks for your kind words!

    I do think it is important to know that from time to time we all struggle with teaching, for various reasons, personal and institutional. Every Sunday is different – it is important to go back the next week and make the attempt again, even if we feel personally inadequate.

    Regarding the law of God, Mack suggests that 2:11 is a summary of reality, or the LAW of GOD. I hope I’m able to post his notes.

  5. cherylem said

    Regarding 2:5 (Brian’s post above), I think Lehi is referring to the Law as practiced by “the Jews” in Jerusalem. This is an issue in the small plates. Laman and Lemuel think practicing the law makes for righteousness, and that “the Jews” were righteous who did practice it.

    and I put “the Jews” in parenthesis because most likely this refers to leaders and teachers of religion and the law, not to every single person in Israel.

  6. brianj said

    Cheryl, having you or Jim tell me that my notes were useful is on par with having Darwin tell me that I had an original idea. Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. cherylem said

    Brian, you are most welcome.

    And Lisa, thanks also for the tidbit about the “most quoted” in #2.

  8. Jim F. said

    Brian, of course Cheryl is right. These are very useful notes. And, like you, I’m always pleased if people find my notes helpful. That’s one of the nice things about blogging about the scriptures with other Saints. Just as I think I have exhausted what I can say about a passage, someone says something that gets my thinking going again (a hint to Cheryl that I am hoping to see those notes from Mack Stirling).

  9. I’ll venture in a little bit and suggest that maybe we are talking about different laws at different times. There is a temporal law and also an eternal law. The eternal law being the law of the harvest. You are what you are as I like to think of it. A celestial being is celestial because they have become such (ie repented, not the please forgive me variety but the I have changed) No amount of suffering on Christs part can make us what we dont choose to become.

    As to the temporal law it seems that there is a real obstacle to us changing/repenting. Perhaps it is our own conscious, perhaps our own demand for punishment, or something. regardless, it seem that the whole intent of the atonement is as Amulek says to bring about the means that men might have faith unto repentance. It gives us the ability to change where we did not have it before. The temporal law is just that temporal. It is to help get us moving in the repentance direction so that when the full weight of the law of harvest or restitution comes we will be beings of light rather than darkness.

  10. I would also add that Lehi seems to suggest that God gives the law rather than God is subject to the law. We are talking about some “temporal law” here.

  11. gloriab said

    I am new to this blog and even to replying….I’ll probably be up all night thinking about “the law” in 2 Ne. 2:5, the Sunday School lesson I have been studying. Lehi says,”and a law is given unto men.” The footnote refers us to Mos. 13:27-29 which tells us “the law” is the law of Moses which, of course, Lehi practiced. 3 Ne. 15:9, the Savior says “I am the law”. When law is used in the scriptures it generally means the law of the Lord or the statues, judgements and principles of Salvation as revealed by the Lord. For example, in ancient Israel “the Law” was the law of Moses. For us today “the law” is the law of Christ which is the fulness of the gospel. Lehi’s reference to temporal and spiritual laws, I think, are referring to redemption/laws of mercy and justice. I hope this made sense.

  12. robf said

    In class today, it really struck me about the connection between the covenant and inheritance. While 2 Ne 1 says that we’ll be blessed, and inherit a land of inheritance, if we keep all the commandments (and this seems to refer somehow to what we would consider temple covenants), it makes me nervous to think about.

    What about us? My bank owns my house, because it loaned me the money to purchase it. I do not have an inheritance, or land of inheritance, because we do not live the full law of consecration.

    We tend to read 1 Ne 1 as if we have inherited the promised land because our ancestors came over here and deposed the Native Americans who are somehow remnant Israel. But we merely possess the land, and have not received it as a covenanted inheritance.

    What does that mean? Are we on shaky ground? By not living the law of consecration, are we denied a true inheritance? Do we not then find ourselves in the same boat as the descendants of Lehi–without an inheritance?

  13. NathanG said

    Interesting questions you raise regarding consecration. I personally don’t think a lot about the land/possessions aspect of the law of consecration. It seems to be a community based practice that the present church community is not organized or instructed to live. I think we should be preparing for that and be willing to participate at such a day that it is practiced. How can we prepare though? I think there are aspects of the law of consecration that are more individually or family based (and probably more important than the United Order aspects).

    The aspect I’ve recently thought a lot about is time. What does it mean to consecrate my time as opposed to my land/possessions (which I also have little of)? Similar to possessions we can take an attitude of giving all of our time to God and he will return to us according to our wants and our needs. So, my 24 hours each day and 7 days each week suddenly become God’s because I make the choice to give it to him. He knows that I am young and not established in the world and have a young family and recognizes the need for me to work to support my family and gives me back the 40-80 hours a week for work as well as study time to learn and keep up on the material I am to use in my work. I also need to sleep, so another 6-8 hours a night is given back to me for rest and rejuvenation. I’m now left with only a few hours of each day that are no longer mine. What does God want to do with that time. He definitely wants me to strengthen my family, but in his way. I can’t simply be a presence in the home, I need some interaction, positive interaction. My family needs to grow in the gospel, and God is going to use my dedicated time for that purpose. I also have callings, home teaching, etc. With this change in attitude I no longer have “me time”, but it’s all “God’s time” that I am a steward of, and he knows what I need to do to strengthen the kingdom (including personal, family, community, and church based activities). If I learn how to consecrate my individual time, I can lead my family to do the same, and then we can be prepared to join the community practices of consecration as they are organized. I don’t think I need to fear for an inheritance if I have given the few things that I have.

  14. RuthS said

    I am a couple of weeks behind everyone because of Ward and Stake conferences. So I am preparing lesson 6 this week.

    In response to the question about the atonement fulfilling the ends of the law, I have given some thought as to what the law spoken of here is. In the context of what Lehi is teaching it can be none other law than the law of justice. This requires that s recompense be made in order for mercy to be available to mortal men.

    There has to be opposition to all things. Therefore there must be opposition to the fall of man through Adam. Justice (the law) demands this. The Atonement stands in opposition to the fall and fulfills the ends of the law by satisfying justice. As a result mercy is possible.

    There is a longer discussion of these principles in Alma 34.

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