rejoice in Christ
This week’s lessons are scheduled for study March 4-10, 2024. We rejoice in Christ for good reason. Jesus offers us a peace unknown in the mortal world, happiness in families, and life with our Father in the eternities.

Day 1

2 Nephi 21-22 – I can find peace in Jesus Christ.

Even during his mortal ministry, Jesus promised that those who follow him will always find peace. The peace he offers is not the kind of peace the world offers, which is the lack of war and strife. Christ’s peace is a comfort to the soul, a hope that extends beyond this life and into the eternities. His peace gives us strength to do difficult things during hard times.

The chapters in today’s lesson talk about what life will be like during the millennium. That will most likely not happen in our lifetime, as desirable as that is. But that doesn’t mean the promises Christ offers those who follow him can’t be ours today. His peace is timeless and is extended to every generation who make and keep covenants with God. The scriptures in this lesson use the conditions of the world at large to describe the kind of peace each of us can experience today internally.

We don’t have to live in a world free of struggle and worry to feel Christ’s peace. His peace transcends the physical conditions of our life and offers us personal tranquility, a life devoid of internal contention. When we accept Christ and keep his commandments we also forsake the ways of the world that cause conflict and strife between people and within ourselves. Christ’s ways heal relationships, invite cooperation, and teach us the strength that is only found in meekness.

Day 2

2 Nephi 21:9-12 – The Lord is gathering His people.

Lehi’s family lived during the scattering of Israel. The Northern kingdom had been captured and enslaved by the Assyrians a century before, and Lehi fled into the desert to keep from being taken by the Babylonians. A remnant of those taken into captivity eventually returned from Babylon, but were finally scattered by the Romans a few decades after Christ’s resurrection, some 600 years later. The first gathering of Israel was when they returned from Babylon. The second gathering is what is happening today. As a people, Israel/the Jews have been scattered among all nations for almost two thousand years.

The gathering of Israel back into their covenant status with God is a miracle in and of itself. Somehow the Lord has made it so that when the descendents of Abraham hear the gospel message they feel something familiar about the message. They are somehow drawn to it, and this is happening on both sides of the veil. The gathering is the most important ongoing event happening on planet earth in the last days. Nothing can compare with this work and miracle God is performing. We are just fortunate that He is allowing us to participate with Him in the gathering. It really is a family effort, for we are all the family of Abraham.

Day 3

2 Nephi 23-24 – The worldliness of Babylon will fall.

It is difficult for us to ignore the powerful in this life. They have money, influence, and the ability to use force when they really want to. To ignore that kind of physical influence and only put our trust in God takes lots of practice and faith. Babylon was the most powerful nation on earth at the time. No one could stand up to them or beat them. They redrew the maps, assimilated whole cultures, rewrote people’s laws, and forced them to live by their Babylonian standards. People had every reason to fear the power and might of Babylon.

This power and influence that Babylon held is why they came to represent worldliness in all its aspects. Wickedness was in control, and only God, Himself had any hope of countering their influence. This is why Isaiah talks about the downfall of Babylon, meaning the world. In his day Babylon and its downfall was still in the future, but it is thousands of years in our past. We look at the downfall of Babylon as the wickedness of the world currently around us. The wicked are now working in concert with each other to control all nations and people.

Satan is the chief influencer of those who control the world. But their days are limited. The Lord will stand for wickedness only up to a certain point before He steps in and says. ‘Enough!’ At that point the wicked are destroyed, usually by others who are not yet as wicked as they are. But what happens when the whole world becomes wicked enough that they need to be taken out of mortality and into eternity? When that happens you have the second coming of the Messiah to begin his millennial reign.

When the Savior comes again, everything that was created by evil, perports and endorses evil, and is the result of evil will be cleansed from this earth by fire. Did you notice in the Book of Mormon when Jesus died on the cross and there were 3 hours of destruction in the Americas, all the most wicked cities were burned by fire? Go back and look it up in 3 Nephi. Every last city that was mentioned by the prophets to be the most wicked ended up being consumed with fire. This will be the state of the entire world when the Savior returns.

There is one difference between the Book of Mormon destruction and the Second Coming destruction. In the Book of Mormon the destruction was just to kill everyone who were the most wicked. When Christ comes again the truly wicked will all be destroyed by fire, but at the same time the whole earth will be cleansed by the Holy Ghost by an all consuming and purifying fire. This fire will rid the whole planet of all the taint of evil that has built up on her face. The whole earth will enter a higher state of being. It will become a terrestrial sphere, just like it was in the beginning when Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden. From that point onward there will be no more time as we now know it, and death will cease to be a thing mortals have to deal with.

So when the Lord talks about the Millennium and the destruction of Babylon or the world, He is referring to a complete purge of all that is wicked and the temporary exaltation of the earth to a higher form of life, before the earth itself is resurrected and made into a celestial sphere for us to live on in the celestial kingdom. This is why we have every reason to look with longing at the second coming of our Savior. All that pollutes, poisons, degrades, and destroys will be gone. All that causes sorrow and mourning will be replaced with things that bring joy and happiness. As you read of the destruction of Babylon, you read of a terrible devastation, and yes, it will have to be to become the world Jesus will govern personally. This is why we seek peace through Christ, why we look forward to his coming, and why we find joy in righteousness. All these things will eventually lead to a blissful life after the wickedness of the world has been wiped away.

Day 4

2 Nephi 25:19-29 – “We talk of Christ … we rejoice in Christ.”

Here is 2 Nephi 25:26.

26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Lasting happiness is found only in and through Jesus Christ. Jacob is fully justified in teaching his people that this is the reason that everything is focused so heavily on Christ. Being able to seek and find a remission for our sins is only through Christ. There is no lasting happiness or joy in this life or the eternities that doesn’t come directly from the sacrifices and labors of Christ in our behalf. So yes, we should speak of him, praise him, give thanks to God for him, and look to him for a remission of our sins. Our eternal welfare depends on the relationship we develop with the Godhead – all three members. We pray to our Father, rely upon the sacrifices of the Son, and live by the guidance of the Spirit. We need all three of them, but the whole plan of salvation falls apart without our Savior at the center. We may not worship him directly, but we can spend our whole lives giving thanks to God for His mercy and kindness in giving us a Savior in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus is the personification of God’s love for us. He shows us the way back to God, and he teaches us how to be humble and submissive to the teachings and influence of the Holy Spirit. We cannot overstate what we owe to our Savior. All we can do is be open to those around us of our debt of gratitude we have for Christ and his works on our behalf. We should never be timid about how we feel about him and about our love for he who loved us first.

Personal Study

Learning to appreciate the long view or big picture.

Sometimes I look at my life and wonder why I’m really here. I’m nothing important in the grand scheme of things. In fact, virtually none of my ancestors were very important or accomplished life-changing things in their lifetimes. My voice is not heard by millions. I’m not followed or adored by the masses, influencing their life choices day by day. So what is there to bring me hope that my life is actually making a difference in the short time I am in mortality?

Have you ever read the genealogy of Christ? I promise you that very few of the names in his pedigree are familiar to you. I look at these unknown names and wonder what purpose they served in being part of his own genealogy. I’m guessing that none of them knew they were going to be the ancestor of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. I look at my posterity and wonder where they are headed. I certainly don’t assume I am to be the forefather of a prophet or some other person of note. Yet every important person who ever enters mortality comes from a long line of people who had no idea who their descendant was going to be or what he/she was going to accomplish in life. And we don’t really know how many of our habits and attitudes, and the good or bad things we do in life are going to filter down and influence the life of that person in our family tree. What we do in this life really does affect our posterity for generations to come.

We may not be able to see the effect of our actions on the future of our line, but God does. He understands perfectly how goodness ripples through lives from one generation to another. When He assigned us our families, our place of birth, and our sphere of influence, He did so knowing how it would influence those who live with us and come after us.

Have you noticed as you read the scriptures that God is very intent on us knowing about future generations? It isn’t enough that we be obedient for our own benefit today, but God wants us to keep in mind that His blessings to our posterity is based on each generation’s faithfulness to covenants. And even when our posterity completely turns against the light and embraces the darkness in life, God still has a plan for their redemption. He has made a covenant with us and our forefathers to bless us with the blessings of Abraham. We may forsake Him, but He never forsakes us. Even when we have to be punished for our disobedience, God is already paving the way for our family’s redemption and salvation.

Those of us who stumble in mortality still have time in our post-mortal life to repent and accept the commandments we didn’t embrace in this phase of our lives. Have you noticed in the last few lessons how the manual keeps talking about how lost and alone the Nephites felt? This is why Nephi and Jacob preached sermons to them about how they were connected to the rest of God’s covenant people. They tried to show them through the scriptures that God has them and their families in mind from generation to generation from their day to the end of the earth.

Does having a view of the future of God’s dealings with my own posterity through the millennial reign of Christ change how I feel about myself today? It can. It should. I may not be “important” to those around me today. I will have to live my life without fame or notoriety. But my own personal obedience sets the tone in my home for a good influence on my children, their children, and their children after them. If each generation looks forward to God’s blessings and the eternal connection He promises to the faithful, we should each look to the future and have increased faith and hope that those who we fear will be lost to God through disobedience will someday be found. He will lovingly lead them and their posterity back to His gospel and bless their families with happiness, both in this life and in the eternities.

Don’t blow off all the references and prophecies of the future of God’s people as unimportant or being disconnected from us personally. Those promises are for us and our families, just as they are for the families in the Book of Mormon narrative. We are all part and parcel of the family of Israel. All of us are Abraham’s family and the promises made to him are our promises as well. We may feel very disconnected from our future generations, but God isn’t. He is working constantly to bring the covenants He made with Abraham into the lives of all of Abraham’s posterity, whether through blood connection or adoption. The blessings are the same. When you read about the future of Israel, that is your future and that of your own family. Look past the times God needs to punish our family for their having abandoned their covenants and look forward with joy to the day God brings our erring posterity back into the fold. Rejoice in His constance and consistency, His faithfulness to the covenants He has made with our family. His efforts to save us and our posterity never cease. This is one more reason we rejoice in Christ.

Click the link below to

print a PDF copy of the article.

BoM10-2024 – We Rejoice in Christ