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Showing posts from September, 2009

"Behold, a Virgin Shall Conceive," 2 Nephi 17:10-16

2 Nephi 17:10-16

I've already spent several days considering these verses in their context, making reference to both the English and Spanish translations in both the Book of Mormon and the Old Testament. The verse that is most frequently referenced in this group is found in verse 14, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bare a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

Yet in the context of these other verses, the Lord provides this prophecy to illustrate that the threat that they presently faced, would come of naught in a span of a few years. The prophecy of Christ's birth is a symbolic representation of both spiritual and temporal liberation for the house of David.

I appreciate the reference to butter and honey in verse 15. From the footnotes in Isaiah, we learn that butter and honey were common staples among the poor in ancient times. The thought comes to me that it was not wrong that Christ himself be born into poor and humble circumstances.

On a different note, …

"Take Heed, and Be Quiet; Fear Not," 2 Nephi 17:1-9

2 Nephi 17:1-9

The title of this post is part of the council of the Lord via Isaiah to the king of Judah, Ahaz. As a backdrop, we learn from this passage that two other kingdoms, Syria and Ephraim, had joined together to wage war against the house of David (vs 2). Ephraim is the head of the ten tribes of Israel that had been driven north out of the land of Canaan.

There is some poignancy in this affront because of Ephraim's fall from the house of Israel. It reminds me of those that leave the fold of God, but for whatever reason cannot leave it alone. Ephraim, despite their fiery threatening, is prophesied to be completely dispersed within 65 years of the time of this attack on Judah. And thus the Lord says to Ahaz, "It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass," (vs 7).

I find a great deal of courage in the face of potential opposition and fear. The Lord is with his people. And so we are blessed to follow the guidance of a prophet of God.

"How Long?" 2 Nephi 16:11-13

2 Nephi 16:11-13

The footnote in the Isaiah equivalent of verse 11 is on the question: How long? It explains that Isaiah is inquiring of the Lord how long will man be this way. To which the Lord answers as long as they exist shall they so be.

Before reading this footnote, I took the question to be an inquiry as to how long he should expect to serve in his capacity. In this case, the Lord's answer is as long as man exists, there shall be a need of service.

At the very end of this chapter is a prophecy of the gathering of Israel. Only a tenth part shall return. The result of their scattering is because of their disregard for the things of the Lord. That ancient covenant which resides deep within their being (probably unbeknown to them) is what will bring them home.

"Hear Ye Indeed, But They Percieved Not," 2 Nephi 16:8-10

2 Nephi 16:8-10

These verses deal with the calling of Isaiah as a Prophet to Israel, or perhaps it was only Judah, the remnant of what remained of Israel. I am impressed in verse 8 by Isaiah's willingness to go and serve the Lord.

Isaiah's instructions from the Lord are a prophecy of the Messiah's mission: "Hear ye indeed, but they understood not; and see ye indeed, but they perceived not," (vs. 9). The wording is confusing in these verses because it sounds as if the Lord would intentionally have Isaiah cloak his teachings or preach in such a way that the people wouldn't be able to understand. This is similar to the Savior's teaching in parables, where he taught eternal truths with simple stories. The reason for such teaching is to address those that are prepared in the midst of larger congregations of less attentive listeners.

"Thy Sin [Is] Purged," 2 Nephi 16:6-7

2 Nephi 16:6-7

The weight and significance of these verse was brought to my understanding over the weekend with a sacred experience where I had the opportunity to personally listen to the testimony of another. It was a lifetime of experiences that stemmed from one pivotal event: the remission of sins through the ordinance of baptism.

That's what I see in these verse of Isaiah, the remission of his sins which came just prior to his calling as a prophet. In his ministry as a prophet, his personal experience is not the first thing which he points to, however the importance of this principle, being cleansed from sins, he does emphasize at the beginning of his book:
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
The reality that sin can only be forgiven through the Lord Jesus Christ is the crux of our message. This is where the Gospel of Jesus Christ…