As Nephi recorded the ministry of his people, he included a two-day sermon by his younger brother Jacob. The sermon is found in 2 Nephi 6–10, and this is the first of three lessons about it. At the beginning of the sermon, Jacob read prophecies of Isaiah concerning the scattering and gathering of Israel, showing that “the Lord God will fulfil his covenants which he has made unto his children” (2 Nephi 6:12).
What priesthood was held by Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob?
Jacob said that he was “called of God, and ordained after the manner of his holy order” and that he had “been consecrated by [his] brother Nephi” (2 Nephi 6:2). When he spoke of this “holy order,” he referred to the Melchizedek Priesthood. President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote that “the Nephites officiated by virtue of the Melchizedek Priesthood from the days of Lehi to the days of the appearance of our Savior among them”
Jacob testifies that the Lord will remember His covenant people. His teachings relate to our lives today, think about how you would react if a friend or family member treated you unkindly, refused to believe what you said, or showed through their actions or attitude that your relationship was no longer important to them.
- Have you ever exhibited similar actions or attitudes toward the Lord?
In 2 Nephi 6–8, we see how the Lord responds to those who have turned away from Him. These chapters contain Nephi’s record of part of a sermon by his brother Jacob. The rest of Jacob’s sermon is recorded in 2 Nephi 9–10. These chapters will be covered in the next two lessons.
Read 2 Nephi 6:3–4 and 9:1, 3. Identify reasons why Jacob gave this sermon.
Write the heading “Purposes of Jacob’s Sermon” in your scripture journal. Under the heading list what you have discovered in the verses that you have just read. Jacob taught his people for the “welfare of [their] souls” (2 Nephi 6:3). He wanted to help them “glorify the name of [their] God” (2 Nephi 6:4), “know concerning the covenants of the Lord” (2 Nephi 9:1), and “rejoice, and lift up [their] heads forever” (2 Nephi 9:3). as you study Jacob’s sermon, you might look for teachings that help fulfill these purposes.
Copy the following time line into your journal.
Read 2 Nephi 6:4. Jacob began his sermon by saying that he was going to talk about conditions that existed in his day and would exist in the future (“things which are, and which are to come”).
number 1 on the time line.
- In 2 Nephi 6:8, what does Jacob say happened to the Jews in Jerusalem because they turned away from the Lord? (Some were slain, and some were carried away captive. Lehi, Jeremiah, and other prophets had prophesied that these things would happen. Their prophecies were fulfilled in about 587 B.C., when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and took many Jews captive into Babylon. See “Chronology” in the Bible Dictionary for this date and others.)
- According to the first sentence of 2 Nephi 6:9, what would eventually happen to the descendants of the Jews who were taken captive in Babylon? (They would return to Jerusalem. This prophecy was fulfilled in about 537 B.C., when King Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homeland.)
number 3, Jacob prophesied that the Savior would live His mortal life among the Jews.
- In 2 Nephi 6:9–10, which phrases describe how some of the Jews would act and feel toward the Savior during His mortal ministry? (Answers may include “scourge him,” “crucify him,” and “hardened their hearts and stiffened their necks against” Him.)
- According to 2 Nephi 6:10–11, what would happen to the Jews who would reject the Messiah? (They would be afflicted in the flesh, scattered, smitten, and hated.)
Read 2 Nephi 6:6–7, 11–12, 14, 17. in verses 6–7, Jacob reads a prophecy by Isaiah about the Restoration of the gospel and the gathering of the house of Israel. identify phrases that describe how the Lord would respond to the house of Israel, the Lord’s covenant people, even though they would reject Him. Write the phrases you have found in your journal.
- In 2 Nephi 6:7, what do you think it means to “wait for” the Lord?
- Jacob promised that “the Lord [would] be merciful” to Israel (2 Nephi 6:11). In what ways do some of the phrases you identified refer to the Lord’s mercy?
- Jacob also promised that the Lord would “recover” Israel (2 Nephi 6:14). What do you think it means for the Savior to recover someone?
- According to 2 Nephi 6:11–12, 14, what must we do to receive the Lord’s mercy?
The Lord is merciful to those who return to Him.
in 2 Nephi 6, Jacob tells of the Lord being merciful to His covenant people even after they have been very wicked. If the Lord would be merciful to these people, He will surely be merciful to us individually as we come unto Him and keep our covenants with Him. Think about the ways the Lord has been merciful to you.
Write the following phrase in your scripture study journals: I know the Lord is merciful because. … Then write your thoughts and feelings to complete the statement.
Jacob shares Isaiah’s prophecy about the Savior’s ability to redeem His covenant people
in 2 Nephi 7 and 8, Jacob reads a prophecy from the writings of Isaiah. Chapter 7 contains the word of the Lord to members of the house of Israel who were scattered and in captivity as a result of their sins. Read 2 Nephi 7:1. Mark the questions the Lord asks in your scriptures.
The phrases “put thee away,” “the bill of your mother’s divorcement,” and “sold you” refer to the idea of breaking or severing a covenant. The Lord’s questions could be rephrased as follows: “Have I turned away from you? Have I put aside the covenant we have made?”
- What is the answer to these questions? (The answer is no. The Lord will never turn away from us or forget the covenants He has made.)
- According to the end of 2 Nephi 7:1, why were these people separated from the Lord and suffering in captivity? (Because they had sinned and turned away from the Lord.)
In 2 Nephi 7:2, the Lord asks another question that can help us see that He wants to help us and that He has power to do so. Find and underline the question. (“Is my hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem, or have I no power to deliver?”)
To help understand this phrase try rephrase the question in your own words. You might restate the Lord’s question by saying something like this: “Am I holding back or not reaching out to redeem you? Do you believe I have power to save you?”
In answer to this question, the rest of 2 Nephi 7 and 8 contains several examples that show the Saviour’s desire to redeem His covenant people and examples that demonstrate that He has power to do so.
Discover evidence that the Saviour desires to redeem His covenant people and has power to do so, In 2 Nephi 8 verses 1–3, 4–6, 7–8, 10–11, 12–13, and 14–16. Find a phrase in their each passage or passages that shows the Lord’s desire to redeem us and His power to do so. Share what you have learned from the passage in your journal and mark the phrases that you findin your scriptures.
The latter-day gathering
Isaiah’s prophecy quoted in 2 Nephi 8 speaks of the latter-day gathering of Israel. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught about the spiritual nature of this gathering:
“What, then, is involved in the gathering of Israel? The gathering of Israel consists in believing and accepting and living in harmony with all that the Lord once offered his ancient chosen people. It consists of having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, of repenting, of being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and of keeping the commandments of God. It consists of believing the gospel, joining the Church, and coming into the kingdom. It consists of receiving the holy priesthood, being endowed in holy places with power from on high, and receiving all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, through the ordinance of celestial marriage” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 515).
To conclude, refer to the list of Jacob’s purposes previously written. Think about the covenants you have made with the Lord and the blessings He has promised you as you keep those covenants. The Lord’s faithfulness to us and His covenants with us, testify of the mercy and redemption we can receive as we are faithful to our covenants with Him.
Next weeks lesson will be Lesson 29 – 2 Nephi 9:1-26