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An Increase of Joy, 2 Nephi 19:3-5

2 Nephi 19:3-5

Verse 3 lists blessings or results of the "light" shining upon the house of Israel. Specifically, it mentions two blessings: 1) that he had multiplied the nation, and 2) that he had increased their joy.

This first blessing has reference to the ancient covenant that the Lord made with Abraham (see Abraham 2:9) in that he would make of Abraham's posterity a great nation. By the time of Isaiah, the fulfillment of this promise had already been brought to pass.

This second blessing, an increase of joy, is later described in this third verse as a joy similar to that which is experienced in a fruitful harvest, or the spoil obtained after a long fought battle. These comparisons make me to think that this joy is the result of something that had been desired for a long season, and more so which is the result of a long period of labor, comparable to all the work that goes into bringing about a fruitful harvest.

Verse 4
explains the cause for this increase of joy: the yoke of man's burden had been removed, the rod of the oppressor had been broken. The advantages of the world over the house of Israel are overcome, and now their faith has proven effective. Really, this has reference to the liberating power of forgiveness which comes from Christ's Atonement. For without the burden of sin, there is no oppression that can weigh down the glorious power of hope experienced in forgiveness. Thus the joy is compared to the fruit of a harvest.

As this joy is also compared to the spoils of battle in verse 3, in verse 5 it describes the nature of the battle. Most battles are with great bloodshed, but the war for the souls of men shall be different. The footnote in verse 5 takes us to Malachi 4:1 -
For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
This is why Isaiah says this battle shall be with "burning and a fuel of fire." This is the Lord's battle and when that great day comes, those who stand in opposition to the work of the Lord shall be destroyed by fire. Being found on the Lord's side shall also bring great joy, an increase of joy, at that day.