Understanding Isaiah – 2 Nephi 14

Instalment Three of Isaiah 🙂

Verse 1 – “And in that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying: We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.” As this verse is the introduction this chapter divide, it can be a little confusing and out of its context. This can be seen as a continuation of the prophecy of the world in the last days. In that day, after the many wars and rumours of wars, this could be a reference to the fact many lives will be lost and so others will be left to find other means of welfare. There is also a link to Journals of Discourses by Brigham Young (11:270), George A. Smith (15:27) and Orson Pratt (15:44) which make a possible link between this verse and the fall of sons of perdition which is well worth looking into.

Verse 2 –In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious; the fruit of the earth excellent and comely to them that are escaped of Israel.”  The fruit of the earth being excellent is a reference to the glory that awaits all those who are nourished by the roots of the Gospel – which glory is eternal, Celestial glory.

A bit of a shorter entry for this chapter as it is shorter anyway!

 

Understanding Isaiah – 2 Nephi 13

Welcome to the 2nd entry of my Isaiah musings. Been a while since the last but other studying has been going on so now I’ve finally been able to come back round to this.

Verses 1-3: “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—The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient; The captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counselor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.” Here, the Lord is making the consequences of sin extremely clear to the Jews what will happen if they leave Him in their faith – the blessings and protection will be removed. This applied to the people of Jerusalem then but it applies to us on a personal, spiritual level also.

Verse 5: “And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor; the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.” Is this not true of today? Once again, the fulfilment of this prophetic pronouncement did not just apply to the people for whom Isaiah was talking to but also to us in the latter days. Whether Isaiah was aware of this or not, I am not aware. However, it is clear once again how the Lord uses His servants (the prophets) to teach and testify.

Verse 12: “And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.” Now, before I ponder over this in depth, I do not think that the prophet Isaiah feels that women ‘ruling’ over anything is a negative idea. Indeed, they probably lead better than men in most cases. However, I interpreted this to be (linked with the children comment) to be about the modern-day deconstruction of the family. Families with no father, with children who have not been taught the sweet message of the Gospel of Christ – it is remarkable how Isaiah’s prophecies were completely true and have come to pass.

Not so much to analyse from what I studied in this chapter, but still worthwhile things. I’m sure that many people will be able to add a some more to my thoughts and ideas so any thing else would be great to here.

Understanding Isaiah – 2 Nephi 12

This is an attempt to record the prompts and study that I have made whilst studying the chapters of Isaiah, starting at 2 Nephi 12 onwards. There may well be things I miss or other opinions/suggestions about what is discussed in the chapter and I would love to hear them! I will not provide commentary on every verse as that would take a long time but mainly because I do not yet have comments on every single verse.

2 Nephi 12

Verse 2“And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.” Here is a clear reference to what is referred often to in the scriptures as the House of the Lord, or a Temple. Temples will be established in the last days and, whilst some feel that this verse refers to a specific Temple that has been established, personally I feel it can apply to all temples dedicated to the Lord Himself.

Verse 3 “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” The underlined part, for me, refers to sacred temple covenants made in the House of the Lord. As we take upon ourselves sacred and eternal laws to govern our lives, we become ever closer to how the Lord lives. Whilst we will never achieve that standard in this life, it is important to remember that this life is only a temporary period in our eternal lives.

Verse 4 “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks—nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” When the Saviour returns and there is millennial peace there will be no need for weapons of war. This phrase symbolises that instead of creating tools for battle, there will be tools for other things. What is interesting to me is what those ‘other things’ are. A plowshare and a pruning hook can be seen below:

 

As may have been noticed – these tools are used for planting and farming. Does this mean we will be focused on rearing crops and greenery. Probably not, this may well refer to tending the vineyard of the Lord (see Jacob 5).

Verse 6 Therefore, O Lord, thou hast forsaken thy people, the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and hearken unto soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.” This is the first example I have of many where it is useful to study the 2 Nephi version of Isaiah with the Book of Isaiah. The corresponding verse in Isaiah 2:6 says “Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.” This is a little confusing but a footnote in the Bible version explains this refers to ‘alien beliefs’. In other words, the Israelites had allowed unfamiliar beliefs to enter their traditions and this was having an impact.

Verse 9And the mean man boweth not down, and the great man humbleth himself not, therefore, forgive him not.” This is another example where it is interesting to study the 2 Nephi version of Isaiah with the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah 2:9 reads “And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.” Not only can we see the variation in the text but there are a footnote in the Bible version which explains what the ‘mean man’ is. It means ‘ordinary man’. So, we can read it as saying many ordinary men do not bow down and many great man do not humble themselves either before the Second Coming, thus, they will not be forgiven.

Verse 10 “O ye wicked ones, enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for the fear of the Lord and the glory of his majesty shall smite thee.” This has a strong reminder of the sorrowful state of the unrepentant when they are resurrected before the Lord and are aware of all their transgressions we find described in Alma 12:14 “For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.”

Verse 11-17 And it shall come to pass that the lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of Hosts soon cometh upon all nations, yea, upon every one; yea, upon the proud and lofty, and upon every one who is lifted up, and he shall be brought low. Yea, and the day of the Lord shall come upon all the cedars of Lebanon, for they are high and lifted up; and upon all the oaks of Bashan; And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills, and upon all the nations which are lifted up, and upon every people; And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall; And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” This passage describes what will happen to all those ‘proud’ people in the day of the Second Coming. One such metaphor used is the ‘cedars of Lebanon’. These tall trees can reach a height of 40m. Not only this, but their national significance can also link to how a ‘cedar of Lebanon’ or one who is built up like this tree may need to be brought low. The cedar is the national symbol of Lebanon and therefore regarded with high importance.

Verse 20 “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which he hath made for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;” The significance of this verse shows us that when the Lord returns to the Earth in His glory, all idols of gold and silver will be cast away, worthless before Him. Of course, we are to recognise that these ‘idols’ will not all be little ornate statues we may pray to in violation of the commandments of God. There are many other idols that all of us, even those who have made sacred covenants with the Lord, may put before the Lord. Do we value the pursuit of material items, sporting events or public recognition before the Saviour? How we use our time is a good indicator of this and something which will require all Saints to undertake some serious self-reflection to consider it.

Verse 22 Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?” And finally, just to hammer home the importance of putting the Lord before the arm of the flesh, we are given a timely reminder. Why cling to material or trivial things when the One who gave and continues to give all men breath is beckoning us to come unto Him? When you think about it, it should be a straightforward answer…

Ok – well as this is actually taking a lot more space, pondering and time than expected I will post chapter by chapter!