23 August 2009

"I Saw Also The Lord," 2 Nephi 16:1-5

2 Nephi 16:1-5

This is an account of when Isaiah sees the Lord on His heavenly throne. I've already spent a handful of days on these verses in Spanish. There my emphasis was on the declaration found in verse 3, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." When I started studying in English, I discovered a footnote found in verse 1, for where Isaiah says, "I saw also the Lord." The footnote on "saw" leads to a verse in John 12:41 which reads: "These things said Esaias(Isaiah), when he saw his glory, and spake of him."

Being in the Lord's presence, and in the presence of these beings called seraphim that declare to each other the holiness of the Lord, causes Isaiah to cry out in anguish, "Wo is unto me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts." In other words, being in the presence of pure Light made Isaiah keenly aware of his weaknesses.

It is also interesting to me that the Lord revealed Himself to Isaiah, even though Isaiah was not "perfect". Or in other words, he still had sin. Perhaps he at least, met the qualification outlined by the Lord. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

12 August 2009

The Work of the Lord "...In That Day," 2 Nephi 15:30 (29&30)

2 Nephi 15:30 (29&30)

The pretext to this last verse is found in the previous verse and some of the footnotes that are found in the actual book of Isaiah in the Bible also give more insight.

Back in verse 29, there is a footnote on "prey" which leads over to a prophecy made by the Savior himself in 3 Nephi 21. The wording is definitely misleading if taken in the wrong spirit.
And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (3 Nephi 21:12)

To my understanding this is a prophecy of missionary work that will take place in the last days. The perceptions of the world towards our efforts as missionaries is that we come among them as ravaging beasts to steal away their family members and neighbors. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yet effective are the means available to those "young lions" in securing safely those that believe on their words.

In verse 30 we read, "And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea." The effect of those young lions (missionaries) roaring shall consume them that don't believe, having the same effect as a being caught in an undercurrent of a large wave.

As a point of clarification, I don't presume to suggest that the work of the missionaries is in any way aggressive or violent. That's the curious contradiction of it all. The work of missionaries is one of peace, patience, and gentle persuasion. For so being they shall be blessed with power-- power to securely bring all that will believe into the fold of God. This is the unique guarantee of the last days, the promise of the gathering of Israel.

The remainder of the verse is an explanation of the conditions of the earth: darkness and sorrow. Even the lights of heaven are withdrawn symbolically.

11 August 2009

"They Shall Roar Like... Lions," 2 Nephi 15:28-29

2 Nephi 15:28-29

These verses appear to be Isaiah's best attempt at describing what he sees and hears in our day and time. I wonder if what he sees has already transpired or if he was seeing even yet further into the future beyond the present. "arrows... sharp," "bows bents," "horses' hooves... like flint," "wheels like a whirlwind." He has to use things that he understands and to describe it those around him.

The roaring of lions mentioned several times in these verses has to be in reference to modern aircraft. If you've ever spent anytime near an airport and listened to the sounds of the planes coming and going, it is easy to see why Isaiah would say this is as the roaring of lions. The footnotes on the verses in Isaiah seem to almost suggests a symbolic parallel between this roaring of transportation and the Gathering of Israel in the last days.

In looking for a personal application is it curious to observe how all things served to advance the work of the Lord, whether to the condemnation of the wicked or the exaltation of the righteous, the Lord's hand is behind even the times in which we live.

07 August 2009

"None shall slumber nor sleep," 2 Nephi 15:27

2 Nephi 15:27

"None shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken; "

A fresh reading of this verse, simply illustrates how quickly the traveling process will become. The travel shall become quick enough to not require sleep. "The girdle of their loins," this is a belt. "Latchet of their shoes" shoe buckle or anything else used to fasten a shoe. It simply seems to me that the point that Isaiah is trying to communicate here, is that travel will allow people to gather so quickly in the last days that it can be accomplished in less than a day. Such a concept was completely unfathomable even 60 years ago. In the history of the world, 60 years is a considerably small time frame.

05 August 2009

"An Ensign to the Nations," 2 Nephi 15:26

2 Nephi 15:26

The beginning of this verse reads: " And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far."

Footnotes on the word "ensign" lead to other scriptures that also call it a "standard". The verse that I find most enlightening is found in D & C 115:5, "Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations;" This verse explains how the ensign shall be lifted up -- it is through the light that emanates from the lives of the people.

This is a personal mandate that my life ought to so be that others are able to discern a difference.

The next part of the verse reads "and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth;" The word "hiss" in the Spanish translation is the equivalent of "whisper". There are many ways in which this "hissing" or "whispering" of the truth can take place: print media, electronic media, films, television, the Internet, personal witness, and also the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The end of the verse explains the effects of this upon the recipients, "And behold, they shall come with speed swiftly; none shall be weary nor stumble among them." In the verses that follow, there is a explanation from Isaiah in the best terms that he can find to describe how this is possible. "They" refers to the nations. This is clearly not a reference to the early-day pioneers that crossed the American Plains on foot or in wagon. This has references to modes and means of transportation that are much quicker, where we can travel around the world in a matter of hours, not months or years.