Lesson 8: Jacob’s Formula for Rebuilding Civilization (For Our Day)

Set the Course

After Lehi’s death, two of his sons Nephi and Jacob led the charge among their people to set up a new civilization. If you had a fresh start, how would you build a new country? 

The Book of Mormon provides a perfect blueprint and instruction manual to establish a successful and prosperous culture, government, and country. Our modern society and culture is decaying. The Book of Mormon provides the answers to rebuild!

Jacob’s sermon focuses on key and foundational doctrines needed in that rebuilding process. Below are a few resources to expand and support his teachings!

Returning to Our Founding Moorings

Both Jacob’s call in 2 Nephi 6-10, and the call to latter-day Israel is to return to the foundation stone of Jesus Christ, the covenants, and to “return to that power which she had lost.” (Doctrine and Covenants 113:8)

The signs foretelling the coming of Jesus Christ began with similar movements to return back to the covenants of Israel. The following clip from the documentary Monumental follows Kirk Cameron and Marshall Foster as they visit the impressive 81-foot, granite National Monument to the Forefathers. Engraved thereon is the formula for success left by the Separatist Pilgrim forefathers to build a nation blessed and prospered by God.

Rediscover the Law of God

Throughout history, revival and restoration has taken place when Israel was awakened to her fallen state and she turned her heart back to the law and will of God. One timeless story with many parallels in our own day is the account of King Josiah. 

King Josiah became king of Judah at a young age, around eight years old. His father and previous kings before him had been very wicked and the church and government of Israel was in a state of dark apostasy. Josiah took a different course and ordered the repair and renovation of the temple in Jerusalem. While the priests were working on the temple, they found a book of the Law. This discovery had a profound impact on Josiah, as the people of Judah had largely neglected the teachings of God and had even lost access to the scriptures for some time.

Josiah had the laws of God read to him and upon learning their contents, he was shocked and horrified by how far he and the people of Israel had deviated from God’s commands. Josiah tore his robes as a symbol of deep mourning and repentance. He knew that the covenants had been broken and that Israel was under serious judgment from God.

In response, King Josiah initiated a series of reforms. He removed idols, altars, and other objects associated with idolatry, and reinstated the observance of the Passover. Josiah is a perfect example of one man who led a reformation of his people back to covenants with God—an example for men and women today who desire to turn Latter-day Israel back to their covenants and come out from under condemnation. (Doctrine and Covenants 84)

See the following film depicting King Josiah’s story, as produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

If you are interested, there is also a longer motion picture on the life of Josiah, embedded below.

Two Sons: Messiah Ben David & Messiah Ben Joseph

The prophet Nephi foretold that “many plain and precious things” would be eliminated from the Bible during the Great Apostasy. 2 Nephi 8:19-20 preserves a more correct version of Isaiah 51, as shown by a close comparison.

2 Nephi 8

19 These two sons are come unto thee, who shall be sorry for theethy desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword—and by whom shall I comfort thee?

Isaiah 51

19 These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?

Notice that Isaiah 51 foretells that in the latter-days, two “things” will come to Israel. Two things? All other Biblical translations support the nebulous word “things.” Nephi and the Prophet Joseph Smith restored the text, changing “things” to “sons.” When Isaiah mourns that Israel’s “sons have fainted,” the Book of Mormon clarifies that these two sons are the exception.

2 Nephi 8

20 Thy sons have fainted, save these two; they lie at the head of all the streets; as a wild bull in a net, they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God.

Isaiah 51

20 Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God.

Why was the correction necessary? Who are the two sons? Ancient Israel believed that there would be two messiahs sent to this earth. “Messiah” is simply a Hebrew word that means “the anointed one.” These two “anointed” sons of the Father were sometimes given the titles:

  • Messiah Ben David, the conquering king.
  • Messiah Ben Joseph, the suffering servant.

Although all prophecies have been and will be fulfilled by Jesus Christ, some Latter-day Saint scholars and authors have studied the Old Testament and ancient Jewish literature and found stunning connections to the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel.

Joseph Fielding McConkie authored an excellent article, “Joseph Smith as Found in Ancient Manuscripts,” on the BYU Religious Studies Center website, which dives more into these prophecies.

The following podcast and presentation recordings with L. Hannah Stoddard also dive more into the Messiah Ben David and Messiah Ben Joseph prophecies.

The Literal Scattering & Gathering of Israel

In this week’s reading, Jacob quotes Isaiah and emphasizes repeatedly that the House of Israel is a literal bloodline, with covenants and history that is temporal, not just spiritual. Our “Simplifying Isaiah” series from Lesson 5 covers the basic and foundational understanding of this teaching. Check it out below if you missed it a few weeks ago!

The Lord is looking for faithful Israelites in our day to rediscover and return to our founding moorings. Where do you stand?

Embark on the Journey

Monthly “I Am a Latter-day Nephite” Theme!

I will maintain the everlasting covenant on the promised land.

Remember: While you absolutely may do every activity suggested if you would like, it is certainly not needed, nor are you limited by the ideas given here. Choose one or more that will work with your learning style, available time, or the group that you are working with. Even if you are an adult, don’t hesitate to choose an activity originally aimed at children—those can be the most fun!

Feel free to run with any other ideas that come to your mind! Allow the Lord to guide you in choosing the best activities for you. The ultimate goal is to engage with the material and become a “doer of the word.”

  • Using clay, model the “National Monument to the Forefathers” in Plymouth, Massachusetts, as featured in the “Returning to Our Founding Moorings” section in Set the Course above.
  • After reading the words of the prophets on music, take a two week challenge to only listen to music that is in harmony with their teachings! Share your experience with others, or online. What were the results, and how were you blessed? If you would like a playlist to get started, we have a “Sacred” compilation here
  • The prophet Nephi foretold that “many plain and precious things” would be eliminated from the Bible during the Great Apostasy. The Joseph Smith Translation is critical in helping us to understand these “precious truths” that were lost and eventually restored through Joseph Smith. Select different verses from the Bible in the Joseph Smith Translation section in your scriptures. (Also available through the Study Helps section on your Gospel Library App!) Have family members role play the two different versions and see if you can guess what was corrupted, changed, or removed and why.
  • Staging an interview can be a wonderful way to get the whole family involved in discussing faith, keeping covenants, and turning to God! Depending on the child’s age, see if they can come up with up to 5-10 questions from a favorite Bible or Book of Mormon story that illustrates those who kept their covenants regardless of hardship or persecution. Have another family member play the part of the scripture character/“interviewee.” Help the child record the answers in audio recording as a family memory gift to give away.
  • If this is your first week here, welcome! Please review our Welcome & How to Join the Quest” for some helpful information on how to use this resource. You may also want to check out the Embark on the Journey section of Lesson 1 for some activities that will be helpful in getting you started on this quest. In particular, you’ll want a journal, and perhaps the “I Am a Latter-day Nephite” resolution and a fun Book of Mormon reading chart. Just start where you are in the year—don’t feel like you have to backtrack and do every lesson, but grab these helpful tools and you’ll be good to go from here!
  • If you choose to download or purchase a designed cardstock version of the “I’m a Latter-day Nephite” resolution, you may want to post it where you will see it every day—on the fridge or your mirror, for example. Ponder on this month’s statement “I will covenant to maintain our rights and our religion.”
    • Reflect in your journal or discuss as a family the following questions: What does religious freedom look like in your country? How have you seen your religious rights being infringed upon? How have you seen others’ religious rights being infringed upon? How can you support religious freedom for all in your community and nation?

Unless otherwise stated, reference to any products, services, hypertext link to third parties or other information by trade name, trademark, supplier or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement or sponsorship by us. They are for convenience only.

All Hands on Deck

  • Pray each morning this week for the Lord to give you an opportunity to share your thoughts on the Book of Mormon and/or what you’ve learned this week with someone.
  • Join the For Our Day community on social media for uplifting shareable content, ideas on how to implement For Our Day in your home and classes, and to connect with others on the journey. You can find us here: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Find the Treasure

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