Monday, November 17, 2014

Old Testament Scriptural Selections and Commentary
Ezekiel, Selections from chapters in the Teacher's Manual
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #43
The Shepherds of Israel - Ezekiel 34:2
Reference: Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, (2001), 201-6

Ezekiel
            "God will strengthen. A priest of the family of Zadok, and one of the captives carried away by Nebuchadnezzar [Babylonian king] along with [Israel's King] Jehoiachin. He settled at Tel Abib on the Chebar [a canal or waterway off of the Euphrates River, Bible Dictionary] and prophesied during a period of 22 years, 592–570 B.C.
            "[Chapters] 33–39,  [are] prophecies of restoration [including 34, The Shepherds of Israel]. Among the notable teachings of Ezekiel are Ezek. 3 and 18, which show the significance of a prophet’s warning and the individual responsibility of every person for the consequences of his own behavior; Ezek. 37, which depicts the valley of dry bones, each bone coming together, bone to his bone, in the Resurrection, the restoration of Israel, and the uniting of the stick (record) of Ephraim with the stick of Judah; and Ezek. 47–48, the description of the latter-day temple in Jerusalem (see Lesson #44), the river running from the temple into the Dead Sea to heal it, and the building of a city “foursquare.” Ezekiel was a man of many visions and spoke much about the future restoration of Israel and the glory of the millennial reign of the Lord. The authenticity of his writings is specifically confirmed by latter-day revelation, as in D&C 29:21 (lds.org, Scriptures, Study Helps, Bible Dictionary, Ezekiel).

The true shepherd - quote by Ezra Taft Benson from the Teacher's Manual:
            "In Jesus’ time, the Palestinian shepherd was noted for his protection of his sheep. Unlike modern sheepherders, the shepherd always walked ahead of his flock. He led them. The shepherd knew each of the sheep and usually had a name for each. The sheep knew his voice and trusted him and would not follow a stranger. Thus, when called, the sheep would come to him. (See John 10:14, 16.)
            “At night shepherds would bring their sheep to a corral called a sheepfold. High walls surrounded the sheepfold, and thorns were placed on top of these walls to prevent wild animals and thieves from climbing over.
            “Sometimes, however, a wild animal driven by hunger would leap over the walls into the midst of the sheep, frightening them. Such a situation separated the true shepherd—one who loved his sheep—from the hireling—one who worked only for pay and duty.
            “The true shepherd was willing to give his life for the sheep. He would go in amongst the sheep and fight for their welfare. The hireling, on the other hand, valued his own personal safety above the sheep and would usually flee from the danger" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 61; or Ensign, May 1983, 43).
            In this lesson, "Ezekiel’s teachings help us understand how much the Savior loves and cares for each of us. He is our Shepherd. He is eager to forgive. He made it possible for us to be resurrected. He is directing the latter-day gathering of Israel. And he brought forth the Book of Mormon as another witness of him" (from the Teacher's Manual).

Ezekiel Chapter 34 - The shepherds of Israel
            "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds [religious leaders]; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?  3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.  4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them (34:2-4)."
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said: “Anyone serving in any capacity in the Church in which he is responsible for the spiritual or temporal well-being of any of the Lord’s children is a shepherd to those sheep. The Lord holds his shepherds accountable for the safety (salvation) of his sheep” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 710; quoted in Teacher's Manual).
"And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field [their enemies], when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them" (34:5-6).
            "For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I [the true shepherd], will both search my sheep, and seek them out [gather Israel] .  12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.  13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land [see Abrahamic Covenant], and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.…15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat [wicked] and the strong; I will feed them with judgment [justice, what they have earned]" (34:11-13, 15-16).
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “We call on you to extend yourselves with renewed dedication. … We want you to watch, to feed, to tend, and to care for the flock and, in the event that some are temporarily lost, we challenge you to find them” (Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 64; or Ensign, May 1983, 45; quoted in Teacher's Manual).
John 10:11-15 - "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.  13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep."

Ezekiel Chapter 18 - Repentance and forgiveness
            "But if the wicked will turn [repent] from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  22 All his transgressions [sins] that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live" (18:21-22).
            "Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive" (18:27).
            "Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit [be spiritually reborn]: for why will ye die [spiritual death], O house of Israel?" (18:31).
            The Teacher's Manual asks: " Why is it important to understand that repentance includes both turning away from sin and having a change of heart? How can we experience this change of heart?
Alma 5:13–14 - "And behold, he [Abinadi] preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved. 14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?"

Mosiah 27:25 -  "And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters."
            Now, Ezekiel teaches about those who turn away from righteousness:
"But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die [remain] (18:24).
The Lord has "no pleasure" in those who refuse to repent and die in their sins (18:23, 32) but will show justice and mercy to those who repent. "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin" (18:30).

Chapter 37:1-14 - Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones
            From the Teacher's Manual: "…Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of bones symbolizes both the Resurrection and the restoration of the children of Israel to their promised land."
            In Ezekiel's vision from the Lord, he is carried in spirit to a valley of dry bones (37:1). "And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest" (37:3). And the Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy upon the bones that they will hear the words of the Lord (37:4).  As he prophesied according to what the Lord told him, the bones came together bone upon bone, then sinews came and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them (37:7-8).  Then the Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy to the four winds that breath would come to them and they would live.  And a great army stood up upon their feet (37:9-10).  The Lord tells Ezekiel these bones are "the whole house of Israel" whose hope is lost.  But, the Lord promises that they will "come up out of [their] graves" and he will return them to their land, Israel (37:12-14).  "Although Israel’s hope may be as dead as the 'great army' of bones that Ezekiel saw, the Savior can bring it back to vitality and life" [through the resurrection] (Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual).

Moroni 7:41 - "And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise."

Ezekiel 37:15-25 - The stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph
            "The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, 16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick [wooden writing tablet, footnote 16a], and write upon it, For Judah [the Bible], and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph [The Book of Mormon], the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: 17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand" (37:15-17).

Elder Boyd K. Packer said: “The stick or record of Judah—the Old Testament and the New Testament—and the stick or record of Ephraim—the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ—are now woven together in such a way that as you pore over one you are drawn to the other; as you learn from one you are enlightened by the other. They are indeed one in our hands. Ezekiel’s prophecy now stands fulfilled” (Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 75; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53; quoted in The Teacher's Manual).

Ezekiel prophesied the following "would occur after the two sticks are put together"
(from The Teachers Manual):
1.     The children of Israel would be gathered together and united into one kingdom with the Savior as King (Ezekiel 37:21–22).
2.     The people would be cleansed and purified (Ezekiel 37:23).
3.     The people would observe the Lord’s statutes (Ezekiel 37:24).
4.     The people would dwell in a promised land (Ezekiel 37:25)

In Ezekiel 37:26-28, the Lord promises to bless the returned children of Israel with an everlasting "covenant of peace" and the restoration of the Lord's "sanctuary" [Temple].  This will be discussed in The Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, Lesson #44.

Ezekiel Supplemental Study
Learning to be a good shepherd
This is a story told by Elder James E. Faust quoted in the Teacher's Manual.  See also  Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 62–63; or Ensign, May 1995, p. 46.

Watchmen to raise a warning voice
            "In Ezekiel’s day, a watchman on a tower would warn the people of impending danger from enemy armies. Ezekiel warned his people about enemies that would endanger them spiritually" (3:17-21). 

            Elder Boyd K. Packer tells the story of the collapse of the Teton Dam in Idaho in 1976.  The saving miracle happened because the 7,800 people in the path of the floodwaters listened to the warnings and speedily warned their neighbors.  It is believed that five of the six people who died did not listen to the warnings.  (See Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, (2001), 201-6.)


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Old Testament Scriptural Selections and Commentary
Jeremiah, Selections from chapters in the Teacher's Manual
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #42
"I Will Write It in Their Hearts" Jeremiah 31:33
Reference: Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, (2001), 198-200
Reference: The Old Testament Made Easier, Part Three, David J. Ridges

            From the Old Testament Teacher's Manual: "… although Jeremiah had few messages of hope for the people of his day, he foresaw a time of hope during the latter-day gathering of Israel. This lesson discusses Jeremiah’s prophecies of the great latter-day gathering that we are participating in today."
            The purpose of this lesson: "To encourage class members to participate in God’s great latter-day work and to have his law written in their hearts."

Jeremiah foresees the latter-day gathering of Israel
            The story of Israel's Exodus from Egypt has been told many times in the scriptures including by Jeremiah and other Old Testament prophets.  In the fifth book of Moses called Deuteronomy, chapter 4, the heading states: "Moses exhorts the children of Israel to keep the commandments, to teach them to their children, and to be exemplary before all nations—They are forbidden to make graven images or worship other gods—They are to witness that they have heard the voice of God—They will be scattered among all nations when they worship other gods—They will be gathered again in the latter days when they seek the Lord their God—Moses extols the mercy and goodness of God to Israel" (LDS edition, 1979, Bible, Old Testament, p. 258).  Moses and the story of Israel's flight from Egypt is one of the greatest stories told in the Bible.
            Now, Jeremiah's is seeing in vision the gathering of Israel in the latter days. 
Jeremiah 16: 14-16 - "Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;  15 But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. 16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks."
"Elder LeGrand Richards said that the fishers and hunters described in Jeremiah 16:16 are missionaries of the Church" (quoted in the Teacher's Manual; Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 143; or Ensign, June 1971, 98–99).
Matthew 4:18-19 - "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Jeremiah 23:3-8 - "And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.  4 And I will set up shepherds [priesthood and Church leaders, Teacher's Manual] over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord. 5 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David (from David's lineage, see footnote 5a) a righteous Branch, and a King [Christ] shall reign  [in the Millennium-see footnote 5d] and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8 But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land."

God will write his law in the hearts of his people
            From the Teacher's Manual: "The children of Israel relied on Moses to receive revelation for them during their sojourn in the wilderness." But Moses wrote in Numbers 11:29, the following: "And Moses said unto him [Joshua], Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" 
            Now Jeremiah prophesies of the covenant the Lord will make with Israel in the last days.  Jeremiah 31:31-34 - "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:  32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt [the Law of Moses; Ridges, p. 345]; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:  33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law  in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.  34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me [in the millennium, see footnote 34a] from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
Ezekiel 11:19-20 - "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God."
Hebrews 8:10 - "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."
            "Jeremiah prophesied that 70 years after the people of Judah would be taken captive into Babylon, they would return to their homeland and once again live in harmony with God" (OT Teacher's Manual) (see Jeremiah 29:10-14). 
Jeremiah 29:10 - "For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place."
Jeremiah 29:12-14 - "Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive."

Supplemental Study from Jeremiah

Now is the time to repent
            From the Teacher's Manual: "The Lord’s mercy is always extended to those who repent. However, people who postpone repentance may find it increasingly difficult to repent."
President Joseph F. Smith taught: “The man with accumulated and unforgiven wrong behind him may find all retreat cut off and his condition in the world hopeless; and he who recklessly cuts off every opportunity of retreat by the neglected evils of the past is most unfortunate. The daily practice, then, of seeking divine mercy and forgiveness as we go along, gives us power to escape evils” (quoted in the Teacher's Manual; Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 374).
Jeremiah prophesied of the devastating future the unrepentant people of Israel of his day will endure. But they refused to listen and had to suffer Babylonian destruction and captivity. 
Jeremiah 6:13-15 - "For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.  14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly [moral corruption, superficially, Ridges, p. 245), saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.   15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord."
Jeremiah 7:23-24 -  But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. 24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
Jeremiah 8:5-6; 12 - "Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return [repent].  6 I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.
12 "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord."
Jeremiah 17:23 - "But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction."

Hearkening to the words of the prophets
Jeremiah 7:13 - "And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you [Judah], rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not."
Jeremiah 25:3-4 - "From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the Lord hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.
 4 And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear."
Jeremiah 26:4-5 - "And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, 5 To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them but ye have not hearkened."
Jeremiah 32:33 - "And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction."

Repeating the sins of previous generations
            From the Teacher's Manual - "Jeremiah warned the Jews of his day that the sins they committed were the same sins for which past generations had been severely punished."
Jeremiah 11:3-4 - "And say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, 4 Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt."

The importance of trusting in God
            In the following scripture, comparison is made between people who trust in man and people who trust in God.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 - "Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. 6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. 7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.  8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

False prophets
            From the Teacher's Manual: "Zedekiah was a king who wanted prophets to tell him what he wanted to hear. Consequently, many false prophets promised that Jerusalem would not fall."
Jeremiah 28:1-2 - "…Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake [falsely] unto me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying,  2 Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon."

Jeremiah 37:19 - "Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?"

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Old Testament Scriptural Selections and Commentary
Jeremiah, Selections from chapters in the Teacher's Manual
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #41
"I Have Made Thee This Day…an Iron Pillar" Jeremiah 1:18
Reference: Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, (2001), 194-197
Reference: The Old Testament Made Easier, Part Three, David J. Ridges

JEREMIAH
            "Born of a priestly family in Anathoth, (Jeremiah was ordained to be a prophet in the premortal life (Jer. 1:4–5) and prophesied from the 13th year of [King] Josiah till after the downfall of Jerusalem, a period of over 40 years, 626–586 B.C.  (He lived near the time of other great prophets: Lehi, Ezekiel, Hosea, and Daniel.)  After Josiah’s death he tried to stem, almost alone, the tide of idolatry and immorality, of self-deception founded on superficial reforms (Jer. 3:4–5; 7:8–10), and of fanatical confidence in the Lord’s protection, in which all classes were carried away. He had to face continuous opposition and insult from the priests (20:2), the mob (26:8–9), his townsmen at Anathoth (11:19), the frivolous and cruel (22:13; 36:23; 26:20), the king (36:19), and the army (38:4). After the fall of Jerusalem the Jews who escaped into Egypt took Jeremiah with them as a kind of fetish (43:6), and at last, according to tradition, stoned him to death. The circumstances under which his prophecies were written down are described in Jeremiah 36.
            "The prophet dwells much on the inwardness of the Lord’s relation to the mind of His servants. External service is useless where there is no devotion of heart and life; superficial reforms were of no avail—a complete regeneration in the national life was required. He develops the idea of individual fellowship with the Lord (Jer. 5:1, 7, 26–28; 9:1–6;18); though the Jewish state falls, the Lord remains, and religion remains in the life of the individual." (Source: LDS.org/scriptures/study helps/Bible Dictionary).  (See also, Jeremiah, Ensign, October 2014) excerpted from an article by Linda K. Burton, “Is Faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ Written in Our Hearts?” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 111.
            The purpose of this lesson is "to [help us] remain faithful in times of opposition and adversity." (Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, (2001), 194-197.)
            From the Teacher's Manual: "Jeremiah’s life was full of sorrow, but his response to trial can teach and inspire us. He was beaten and imprisoned for prophesying against the kingdom of Judah. His life was constantly threatened. But through all the adversity and opposition, Jeremiah was like an “iron pillar” (1:18). The book of Jeremiah provides a personal, faith-promoting record of the prophet’s response to his life’s sorrow and frustration."

Chapter 1 - Jeremiah is called to be a prophet
4 Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
 6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
 7 But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
 8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.
 9 Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
 10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant (1:4-10).
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was” (History of the Church, 6:364; quoted from the Teacher's Manual).

Chapter 2 - The people of Judah forsook the Lord, the fountain of living waters
            "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living watersand hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water"     —"meaning they had sought fulfillment and security in worldly things" (OT Teacher's Manual).
Elder Marion D. Hanks said:
“Material objectives consume too much of our attention. The struggle for what we need or for more than we need exhausts our time and energy. We pursue pleasure or entertainment, or become overinvolved in associations or civic matters. Of course, people need recreation, need to be achieving, need to contribute; but if these come at the cost of friendship with Christ, the price is much too high.
“‘For my people have committed two evils,’ said the Lord to Israel; ‘they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.’ (Jer. 2:13.)
“The substitutions we fashion to take the place of God in our lives truly hold no water. To the measure we thus refuse the ‘living water,’ we miss the joy we could have” (quoted in the Teacher's manual; Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 127; or Ensign, July 1972, 105).

Jeremiah faced continued opposition from the leaders and the people
            Now Pashur the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah was prophesying of the wickedness of the Jews and their leaders (20:1).
 "Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord.  And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The Lord hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magor-missabib ("terror all around"—see footnote 3a). For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it:  and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.…And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies" (20:2-4,5).
            Because Jeremiah prophesied according to the words the Lord put into his mouth concerning the destruction of the cities and people of Judah, the princes [leaders] and most of the people of Judah gathered against him.  They took him "and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the Lord’s house.  Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city" (26:7-11).  He was opposed and hated even by his "brethren" [family] and neighbors in Anathoth (11:19-21. 12:6).
            Jeremiah was told by the Lord: "Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day" (36:2). So Jeremiah called Baruch [his scribe] who wrote down all the words from Jeremiah's mouth.  Because Jeremiah was "shut up," he told Baruch to take the scroll and read it to all the people on the next "fasting day" (36:1-6) which he did (36:10).  And when Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, heard the words he took the book and burned it (36:23). But the Lord hid Baruch and Jeremiah and commanded them to write them down again (36:20-32).
            Later, when Zedekiah the son of Josiah was king, Jeremiah was free again to walk among the people.  "And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah,…and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans" [Babylonians].  Jeremiah denied this charge but was taken to the princes where he was beaten and put into prison unjustly (37:12-15).  Then Jeremiah was cast into a dungeon without food or water where he "sunk into the mire" (38:4-6) but was rescued by an Ethiopian eunuch from the king's house and taken back to the prison house (38:7-13). Even in all his adversity, Jeremiah continued to prophesy "in the name of the LORD" (26:12-15).
            From the Teacher's Manual: " Jeremiah’s prophecies that the Babylonians would destroy Jerusalem were fulfilled, as recorded in Jeremiah 39–40. Jeremiah had been in prison during the siege, but afterward the Babylonians freed him and allowed him and a remnant of the Jews to remain in the land of Judah. Johanan, the leader of those who remained, asked Jeremiah to seek the Lord’s will for them and promised to obey it (Jeremiah 42:1–6). Through Jeremiah the Lord told the people to stay in the land of Judah and promised to bless them if they would do so (Jeremiah 42:9–22). But Johanan led the people into Egypt, where most of them continued in their wickedness (Jeremiah 43–44)."

Jeremiah is strengthened in adversity by his love for the word of God
            Jeremiah 1:9 - "Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth."
            Jeremiah 15:16 - "Thy words were found, and I did eat them [make them a part of me]; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts."
 2 Nephi 32:3 - Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."
            Jeremiah 20:9 - "Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay [stop]."
  
Supplemental Study - "Clay…in the potter's hand"
            Jeremiah 18:1-6 - "The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
 2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred [damaged] in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel."
Ridges comments: "This chapter starts out by using the symbolism of a potter creating a pot from clay on a potter's wheel.  While the clay is pliable, he can form it according to his plans.  He can even start over with the clay, if necessary.  This symbolizes what the Lord (the potter) desires to do with His people (the clay)  He desires to mold and shape them to become His people" (OT Made Easier, Part III, p. 289) (18:5-10).
President Heber C. Kimball provided the following insights into the comparison in Jeremiah 18:1–10:  “All [who] are pliable in the hands of God and are obedient to His commands, are vessels of honor, and God will receive them” (Quoted in the Teacher's Manual; History of the Church, 4:478).
“There are many vessels that are destroyed after they have been moulded and shaped. Why? Because they are not contented with the shape the potter has given them, but straightaway put themselves into a shape to please themselves; therefore they are beyond understanding what God designs, and they destroy themselves by the power of their own agency. (Quoted in the Teacher's Manual; in Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer [1981], 270).

Jeremiah preached at the same time as the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi
            "The prophet Jeremiah was teaching and warning the people of Judah at the time Lehi left Jerusalem. Both Jeremiah and Lehi prophesied that Jerusalem would be destroyed" (OT Teacher's Manual, p. 97).
Where was Jeremiah? 1 Nephi 7:14 "For behold, the Spirit of the Lord ceaseth soon to strive with them [Israel]; for behold, they have rejected the prophets, and Jeremiah have they cast into prison. And they have sought to take away the life of my father [Lehi], insomuch that they have driven him out of the land."
            Now the prophesies of the prophets begin to come true.  Some time around 587 B.C. the fall of Jerusalem begins [Ridges, p. 371].  Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army come against Jerusalem.  Zedekiah, the king of Judah at this time, fled to the plains of Jericho where he was captured by the Babylonians.  Then the king of Babylon brought the sons of Zedekiah before him and slew them "before his eyes.…Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon" (39:4-7).
            "From the Book of Mormon we know that one of the sons of Zedekiah was not slain by the Babylonians" (OT Teacher's Manual).
Helaman 8:20–21 - "And behold, also Zenock, and also Ezias, and also Isaiah, and Jeremiah, (Jeremiah being that same prophet who testified of the destruction of Jerusalem) and now we know that Jerusalem was destroyed according to the words of Jeremiah.
 21 And now will you dispute that Jerusalem was destroyed? Will ye say that the sons of Zedekiah were not slain, all except it were Mulek? Yea, and do ye not behold that the seed of Zedekiah are with us, and they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem?"
Omni 1:15 - "Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla [descendents of Mulek] came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon."