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Showing posts from January, 2009

"Cut Off from the Presence of the Lord," 2 Nephi 9:4-9

2 Nephi 9:4-9

In these verses, salvation is defined as a return to the presence of God in our bodies. Verse 4 reads, "Our flesh must waste away and die; nevertheless, in our bodies we shall see God." Job echos a very similar sentiment in the Old Testament, "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God," (Job 19:26).

Jacob is covering a great deal of information in these verses. In explaining the importance or need for an infinite (all-encompassing) atonement, Jacob illustrates the effects of the fall.

(This is something that I don't think I've ever fully comprehended in part because I've never fully experienced it. That is, throughout my life in some form or other, I have known the goodness of God to pad the effects of the fall. I suspect that so it is with most people. Perhaps then the only way to fully comprehend the effects of a separation from God's presence is through prophetic utterance. )

Jacob explains that …

"Lift Up Your Heads Forever," 2 Nephi 9:1-3

2 Nephi 9:1-3

Here Jacob gives reason for his inclusion of these two chapters from Isaiah in his discourse to his own people: "I have read these things that ye might know concerning the covenants of the Lord that he has covenanted with all the house of Israel," (vs. 1). For Jacob, Isaiah is evidence of the Lord's covenant relationship with the house of Israel.

It is Jacob's hope and motivation for sharing this information that his hearers would find strength from the words of Isaiah. Jacob knows that a true knowledge of the covenants of God gives hope and freedom - reasons for rejoicing.

A Committed God, 2 Nephi 8:13-25

These remarks may be construed as boastful, but they are inspired out of a spirit of profound gratitude. I am very grateful this morning for the council that has lead me to start each day out with a period of study in the scriptures. I am grateful to start each study with a prayer to my God, who is also my Father.

This morning as I concluded my prayer, I felt the same regard, respect, appreciation, and love towards my Heavenly Father that I have had towards my own father and other men whom I have held in close personal regard. The reality of God as my Father personally, whom I can love with all the same endearing affections as I have my own mortal father, has been impressed upon my mind this morning.

2 Nephi 8:13-25

As I have read through the remainder of 2 Nephi 8, verses 13-25, the Lord is explaining to His people His personal commitment to them. In verse 16, He concludes with this simple statement, "Behold, thou art my people." Throughout the remainder of this chapter, one t…

"The Lord Shall Comfort Zion," 2 Nephi 8:1-12

2 Nephi 8:1-12

Isaiah is again being quoted in this chapter. He starts by stating the audience for which this is intended: "Ye that follow after righteousness. " Then in verse 3 is found the premise, or main idea, for the remainder of the chapter: "For the Lord shall comfort Zion," or in other terms, the Lord shall restore the house of Israel.

We believe in the literal gathering of the House of Israel, (see Article of Faith 10). However, the terms that Isaiah uses to describe this gathering or restoration paint a picture of a more personal God, working in a spirit of joy, gladness, and gratitude (see verse 3 & 11). Later in verse 12, "I am he; yea, I am he that comforteth you. "

"I Shall Not Be Ashamed," 2 Nephi 7

2 Nephi 7, compare Isaiah 50

Isaiah is quoted verbatim in this chapter by Jacob. Isaiah here speaks Messianically, or as if he were the Savior himself. My first reaction when reading this is that personal application would be disrespectful or irreverent. However, if we are to become like Christ (which we are), these verses offer counsel and encouragement if applied personally.

The principles of truth that apply to the Savior Jesus Christ are the same that are applied to me, though I am imperfect and He is perfect. Under the influence of the same Spirit that caused Isaiah to boldly penned words that represented the Messiah, I can learn from these words how to become more like Him.

p.s. The ambiguity of this posting is intentional.

My Personal Approach to Scripture Study

One of the readers of this blog has inquired of me how I approach my scripture studies. I offered the following as a response.
This is what works for me. Let me emphasize the "for me" part. Right now, I do all my studying online, using the online version of the scriptures. I take at least a half hour every day. I alternate days between English and Spanish (my mission language). Then I'll take notes once I've felt that I've learned what the Lord would show me for the day, some times it takes more than one day (this is why I don't have any entry for every day).

I have a tendency to jump to conclusions, but as I open and close every study with prayer, I do well to try to keep myself like a blank slate ready for the Lord to write on it. There is a rare occasion where I'll completely deviate from the sequential order of study, because I feel that's where I should be for the day.

Elder Maxwell once said that faith has a short sh…

"All Flesh Shall Know," 2 Nephi 6:14-18

2 Nephi 6:14-18, See also Doctrine and Covenants 97:22-26

There are several points of engagement or, better said, doctrines that I am trying to find cohesiveness between this morning.
In the end of times, the Lord will return "in power and great glory," (vs 14).At the Lord's return, there will be great destruction among the wicked. Zion shall be spared "if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her," (D & C 97:25)
All people shall eventually know that "the Lord is God, the Holy One of Israel," whether by faith or by destruction (see vs 15, 18). President Henry B. Eyering has commented recently, " some moment in the world to come, everyone you met in this life will know what you know now... They will know that you knew. And they will remember whether you offered them what someone had offered you." (“Let Us Raise Our Voice of Warning,” Liahona, Jan 2009, 2–7)There seems to be coming some eventual point in the history o…

"The Lord God Will Fulfill His Covenants," 2 Nephi 6:11-13

2 Nephi 6:11-13

Jacob explains the conditions associated with the gathering of the House of Israel and the provisions for the adoption of the Gentiles and then adds: "For the Lord God will fulfil his covenants which he has made unto his children; and for this cause the prophet has written these things," (vs 13).

The mercy extended to the House of Israel seem difficult to comprehend in any other context than the fulfillment of covenant. Any other people would have been utterly destroyed for rebellion in the presence of Truth. Instead, the House of Israel is driven to and fro, afflicted, smitten, scattered, and hated. Yet the Lord is merciful unto them and they are not utterly destroyed. To this end, when they do repent, the Lord will bring them again into the land of their inheritance (see verse 11).

In other terms, when the Lord covenants with his faithful servants, and that covenant is kept by his servants, the Lord is bound and willing to honor such faithfulness. Such is th…

The Weight of Reality, 2 Nephi 6:8-10

2 Nephi 6:8-10

"After they had hardened their hearts and stiffened their necks against the Holy One of Israel, behold, the judgments of the Holy One of Israel shall come upon them..." (vs 10).

These judgments are real, because God is real. There are consequences for rebellion against God. That God can talk to us and give us personal instruction is real. If we go against that instruction, then the consequences for go against that are real.

Where a blessing from God is extended and then not received, the wrath of God is upon them. So even though, the Jews never had accepted the Savior when he came, never even acknowledged that this was the one. The reality was that God was there, so that the opportunity was there and missed.

The challenge then is to be where God is. Do what God is doing. Being in harmony with God's work and timing. The Jews on the contrary looked for someone other than the God that had covenanted with their fathers, a different God.