Monday, June 24, 2013

The Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 13

Today’s study comes from 2 Nephi 13, which can be reasonably compared with Isaiah 3.  Also, large thanks go to, without which the understanding of these scriptures would have been more difficult than it needed to be.

It’s pointed out by the above mentioned resource, that in the original translation of the Book of Mormon, the quotation of Isaiah was left almost completely intact, rather than being divided up into chapters, as it is now.

I wondered about what was meant when Isaiah says:

For behold, the Lord, the Lord of Hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem, and from Judah, the stay and the staff, the whole staff of bread, and the whole stay of water—

For one thing, what is “the stay and the staff” and what do they have to do with bread and water?  Book of Mormon Online quotes a book titled “Second Witness,” which does, basically, what we’re doing here, analyzing the Book of Mormon chapter by chapter.  It tells us that they refer to means of support, though it admits that this might be more related to social structure than societal support.  However, the list of roles in society that are to be removed gives us a pretty good idea that the Lord intends for Jerusalem to be completely without competent leaders and counselors.  It will, instead, be left with children and babies as puppet rulers, though not necessarily in a literal sense.  Since society will be thrown into figurative chaos, there will be a certain lack of respect between those that should have respect and those that should be shown it.  They will also frantically attempt to appoint rulers, without success.  Finally, Judah and Jerusalem will be utterly destroyed.  Only the righteous, according to Isaiah, wouldn’t have anything to fear.  Later, the leaders would be judged by the Lord for oppressing the common people.  The Book of Mormon Student Manual points out that this prophecy was brought to pass in 587 BC when Nebuchadnezzar took Israel into captivity roughly thirteen years after the Lehi family left Jerusalem.  Later on, in 70 AD, nearly 657 years later, the Romans razed Jerusalem and scattered the Jews to the four winds.

The next part of this chapter castigates the women of Zion for being vain and caring more about their appearances than about the Lord.  Judging from what’s written, Isaiah felt that they were behaving like street walkers (prostitutes).  The Lord will punish them by replacing their hair with scabby baldness and “[discovering] their secret parts” which makes me think of venereal diseases.  The Lord will also take away all their beautiful clothing, jewelry and accessories.  They will also lose their men to war and will be consumed by mourning for their loved ones.

Applying the Scripture to My Life

I’ve been told that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  I can read a warning when it’s placed in my lap.  When the Second Coming arrives, I want to be counted among the righteous so that I don’t have to worry about the horrors promised to the wicked.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 12

Once again, I apologize for letting this go for so long.  The study of Isaiah is daunting for me.  However, we just had a really inspirational fireside, so let’s get to it, daunting or not.  Today, we’ll be studying 2 Nephi 12.

I was surprised, initially, at how interesting this chapter is.  A footnote in verse 2 points out that comparisons between the Book of Mormon and the King James Version of the Bible in the Isaiah chapters reveal differences in more than half of the 433 verses quoted.  Interestingly enough, 200 of those verses have the exact same wording.  Cool, right?  So, anyway, Isaiah starts out by saying that the following prophecies concern Judah and Jerusalem.  I don’t have any official explanation of this beyond my own belief that Judah and Jerusalem should have a personal interest in all the things Isaiah mentions in the following prophecy.

First of all, in verses 2 – 5, Isaiah uses the word “when,” which means during a given period of time.  I take this to mean that the following prophecy will happen when certain signs, which he will give us, happen.  He says the “mountain of the Lord’s house” will be established in “the top of the mountains.”  We already understand that the mountain of the Lord’s house is a reference to the temple and “top of the mountains” means Utah.  So, we know that when there are temples in Utah, and people from all nations say, “Let’s go visit the temple”  where the Lord will teach his people and they will make promises to walk in his ways. The reason Isaiah gives for this is that the Law will come from Zion, and the word of the Lord (Prophecy) will come from Jerusalem.  I assume this means because that’s where the Lord will be following his 2nd coming.  Verse 4 says He will judge all the nations, rebuking many individuals.  What’s more, there will be no war.  If Isaiah is to be believed (and he’s been right so far, so…) those in the military will give it up to become farmers.

Next, in verses 6-9 we learn the condition of the world just before the Second Coming.

  • People will believe that God has forsaken the world.  (v 6)
  • Some will rely on the offices of “soothsayers” for spiritual guidance (See Bible topical Guide “Sorcery”. v 6).
  • They will “please themselves in the children of strangers.” (v 6 Child molestation?)
  • They will have great wealth and be very warlike (v 7)
  • They will worship the work of their own hands (secularism? v8)
  • They will be very proud (v9)

Then we move to verses 10-17, which details their reactions when Christ returns to the earth.  Basically, they will be so ashamed of their actions that they will throw away their “idols” and go into hiding in caves and holes, because they’ll be afraid to meet their savior and look him in his face.  At the Second Coming, all men will be humble, either willingly or not.  The Savior alone will be exalted.  Verses 13-17 are devoted almost completely to detailing how much of the world will be humbled.  For me, it’s enough to just say all of it.

Finally, verses 18-22 give us some of the results of the Second Coming.

  • All idols will be abolished (v 18).
  • The proud and wicked will hide in caves and holes out of shame and fear that they will be smitten by the glory and majesty of the Lord. (v 19 & 21).
  • Man will throw away anything that has taken the place of God in his heart (v 20)
  • They will wonder why the Lord loves them even though they are wicked (v 22)

Applying the Scripture to My Life

Reading this, I’m trying to imagine being so wicked and so proud that I can’t abide the idea of even coming into the presence of the Lord at his Second Coming, let alone look into his face.  I’m trying to imagine being so wicked that I’d rather hide in a cave than chance meeting him and, to judge by Isaiah’s words, abjure the Lord from trying to save me, telling him that I’m not worth his time or his effort.  It’s hard to do.  That’s not something I want.  I desperately want to look into the face of Christ and hear him say that I was a good and faithful servant.  So, I imagine I should probably avoid the traits listed above.

What about you?  How would you say this scripture applies to your life.