Archive for December, 2008

2 Nephi, Chapter 12

(Isaiah 2)

What is the “mountain of the Lord’s house”?

In verses 2-3 we read, “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. 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.”  From this we learn that in the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established, all nations will be able to get to it and will learn in it.

The mountain of the Lord’s house is the temple. Today we have 124 working temples around the world.  What a wonderful gift it is to live near temples and be able to do the Lord’s work and learn of His ways.  I am blessed to have three temples within 1 1/2 hours distance in traffic, and a fourth temple 2-3 hours away.  The temple is an awesome blessing in my life.

In verse 4 we read, “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.”  We see here that also in the last days, there will be no more war.  These things are definitely cause for rejoicing.

It’s hard to imagine a world where everyone learned of the Lord and there was no more war, but it will be because the scriptures say it will.  It’s an awesome thing to look forward to.

What sins did Isaiah see in the last days?

Isaiah prophesied dualism, which means he prophesied of things that applied in his time, before Christ came to Earth, as well as in our time.  The things in this chapter were written for the people of his time, as well as for us in the latter days. 

“O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord; yea, come, for ye have all gone astray, every one to his wicked ways (v. 5).”  Isaiah says the house of Jacob had gone astray.  Just as Jacob house, we have gone astray.

One of the things that applies to our day is that people listen to others rather than God, “hearken unto soothsayers like the Philistines (v. 6)”.  We think a lot today of gaining knowledge, but I think few people are concerned with learning the truth.  More and more people are claiming to be wise in everyday topics and it is becoming much easier to turn to their knowledge rather than asking God for the truth.  The truth can be found through scriptures and from the mouths of the prophets and apostles.  

Also, people care too much about their wealth.  “Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures (v. 7).”  People today worship false idols and they have pride in themselves, but do not thank the Lord for all that He gives to them.  “Their land is also full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made (v. 8 ).”  Worst of all, they forget God and want to remove Him and faith in Him from their lives and the lives of others around them.  “And the mean man boweth not down, and the great man humbleth himself not (v. 9).”

When the savior comes again the wicked who worship idols will want to destroy them when they realize they should have worshipped the Lord.  “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(v. 20); To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for the fear of the Lord shall come upon them and the majesty of his glory shall smite them, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth (v. 21).”  People fear being caught doing wrong.  If only everyone could see these things are not good to worship.  I believe this world would have a lot less sin and evil if we all were less concerned with these worldly things and could see Jesus Christ as our Savior and God as a true and loving father in heaven.

2 Nephi, Chapter 11

 Jesus-Portrait

Who are the three witnesses of Jesus Christ mentioned in this chapter?

In verse 4 we read, “Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.”  Nephi delights in proving the words of Isaiah are true about the coming of Christ.

We read the words of the Savior in Matthew 18:16, “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”  It is easier for man to believe our words if we have a witness of two or more.  Sometimes my daughter will ask me a question and then turn to her dad and ask the same question.  If she gets the same response, she believes it, but if she only asked me, she would doubt that I was telling the truth.

The witnesses Nephi mentions in this chapter, are Jacob, himself (Nephi), and Isaiah.  Nephi uses the words of Jacob and Isaiah to prove his testimony of the Savior’s coming was truth.  We have many additional witnesses that the Savior came to the Earth.  The prophets words were fulfilled as prophesied.  I am grateful for the witnesses we have today that the Savior will return.  What a wonderful blessing we have to look forward to.

Make “happy” lists

Three of the many things that make me happy are when my family/loved ones are happy, good memories (looking at journals and pictures), and when I realize that I know something (spiritual or secular).

Nephi delights in proving the coming of Christ, in covenants of the Lord made to their fathers, in the Lord’s grace, justice power and mercy in the great plan of deliverance,and in proving we can only be saved through Christ.

My “happy” list is personal and makes me feel good, where Nephi’s “happy” list focuses on the things which bring eternal happiness to all men.  I am happy to know the Savior came and gave his life through the atonement and crucifixion, that I may be forgiven, resurrected and able to see and live with my Father in Heaven again.  Nephi’s “happy” list definitely makes me happy as well.

The Isaiah matching game

In the Bible Dictionary, under “Isaiah” we read, “The reader today has no greater written commentary and guide to understanding Isaiah than the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. As one understands these works better he will understand Isaiah better, and as one understands Isaiah better, he more fully comprehends the mission of the Savior, and the meaning of the covenant that was placed upon Abraham and his seed by which all the families of the earth would be blessed.”  

I have often heard people say that they skim or skip the words of Isaiah because they are difficult to understand.  I have been likely to do that in the past as well.  However, the more I read through the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenant, the easier it is to apply the words of Isaiah to my life.  I have noticed how the translation of certain phrases in the Book of Mormon, give real meaning to his words, where the phrase in the Bible may seem more confusing or even contradictory to the principle being taught.  I am glad to have a pure translation found in the Book of Mormon.  I know that we can better understand the Savior’s mission and the meaning of the Abrahamic Covenant through Isaiah’s words.  A better understanding of the Savior’s mission will bless me to know why I’m here, where I am going and how and why I want to be there.

The next 13 chapters of 2 Nephi, can all be compared to chapters in Isaiah.  We are not expected to understand every word of scripture, so I will try my best to get what I need out of them. “And now I write some of the words of Isaiah, that whoso of my people shall see these words may lift up their hearts and rejoice for all men. Now these are the words, and ye may liken them unto you and unto all men (v. 8 ).”  These words are written so that we can have joy.

Some of the things to look forward to in the following chapters are:

  1. Amoz is Isaiah’s father (2 Nephi 12:1)
  2. Uzziah is a king in Isaiah’s day (2 Nephi 16:1)
  3. Jesus christ is the subject of most of Isaiah’s prophecies (BD- Isaiah)
  4. 740-701 BC are the years Isaiah lived (BD- Isaiah)
  5. Jesus said “Great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1-3)
  6. Nephi said his “soul delighteth in his [Isaiah’s] words” (2 Nephi 11:2).

I am grateful to Isaiah for his willingness to record his testimony for me and my family.

2 Nephi, Chapter 10

 

Can unbelieving children be restored?

In verses 1-2 of this chapter, Jacob tells his people what will happen to the descendants of Nephi.  He says that many of them shall perish because of unbelief, but many will be restored because God is merciful and his promises will come to pass.  They will have the opportunity to know their redeemer because God made a promise to the righteous Nephites.

I think the best way to keep family members from straying and to bring back those who have strayed, is to love them and be the best example you can be.  Our actions can be a guide to happiness.  We cannot make decisions for our children or other loved ones, but we can lead the best life we can.  If we do this, we will be reading our scriptures, praying as a family and personally, having family home evening and attending church regularly.  We have been given a promise by our leaders that if we do these things, we will not loose our loved ones.

Find the curses and blessings

Nephites:  Blessings – God is merciful as promised and many will be restored, they will come to know their redeemer (v. 2), their land would be a land of inheritance (v. 10), the land would be a consecrated land for their children where people will worship God (v. 19), their land is a better land then where they came from (v. 20).  Curses - Many will perish in unbelief (v. 2).

Lamanite:  Blessings – Their land would be a land of inheritance (v. 10), Gentiles hearts will be softened towards them (v. 18), the land would be a consecrated land for their children where people will worship God (v. 19), and they will inhabit the isles of the sea and have great promises from God (v. 21).  Curses – They will fight against Zion and perish (v. 16) and they will be afflicted by hand of Gentiles (v. 18).

Jews:  Blessings – Christ would come among them (v. 3 ), they will be restored if they believe in Christ (v. 7) and the Gentiles will gather them to their land of inheritance (v. 8 ).  Curses – Would live in the more wicked part of the world and would crucify their God (v. 3 ), they would have priest crafts, iniquities, and stiffen their necks towards their God (v. 5), they will have destructions, famines, pestilences, bloodshed, and be destroyed or scattered (v. 6), and they will fight against Zion and perish (v. 16).

Gentile Blessings – Their Nation will be great in the eyes of God (v. 8 ), they will have great blessings (v. 9), they will be blessed upon land (v. 10), the land will be a land of liberty for them (v. 11), those who hear His world will have the light of Lord forever (v. 14), they will afflict others with God’s hand and they will be numbered among the house of Israel (v. 18) and they will live in a land where God will be worshiped (v. 19).  Curses – Those who fight against Zion will perish (v. 13, 16) and those who raise a king against God will perish (v. 14).

Ilses of the Sea:  Blessings – They will have great blessings from the lord and their will be multiple isles with many groups of the children of Israel (v. 21), and the Lord will remember all His people (v. 22).  Curses – They will be led away from time to time (v. 22 – this may actually be a blessing).

Which of these apply to my family?  The blessings of the gentiles are those promised to my family.  America is a land of liberty where people can worship God.  We are blessed upon this land, even though their are many who may not see it that way, I do.  I pray that the curses promised to the Gentiles will not fall upon my family.

Why did the Jews reject their own God?

In verses 3-5 we read, “Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name—should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God. 4 For should the mighty miracles be wrought among other nations they would repent, and know that he be their God.  5 But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.”

The Jews were wicked and crucified the Savior because they were in the more wicked part of the world, with priest crafts, iniquities, and stiff necks against Christ.  In 2 Nephi 26:29, we learn that priest crafts are when men preach and put themselves before God as the light to the world, for gain and praise of the world not the welfare of Zion.  The Jews would suffer destructions, famines, pestilences, bloodshed, and be destroyed or scattered because of their iniquities (v. 6).

Today, people who are leaders could seek for power in the church, but as long as we live as guided by the priesthood and spirit, we will not be led astray.  I know that our Prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson, is a man of God.  I do not believe that he would ever choose to lead us from the path of God for his gain.  I know he cares for each of us and loves us.  I know his counselors and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are also men of God, who are being led by the spirit and not their own desires.  I am glad to have their words of love and wisdom to follow, so that I can return to my Heavenly Father some day.

What must I do to be saved?

I love that Jacob says in verse 23, “Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.”  It is our personal choice and no one else can make it for us.  We live in a nation that is slowly trying to take away our liberty.  The government is telling us that they are better at making decisions for us then we are.  I have a greater courage from this scripture, because I know that no one will make me choose any path other than what I want, which is eternal life.  I pray that my family will understand this also and that they will be courageous in their decisions.

The word “reconcile” means to restore friendly relations between by causing to coexist in harmony, make compatible, make consistent with another, settle (as a disagreement), or to make a disagreeable or unwelcome thing accepted by another.

Verse 24 says, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.”  We need to become compatible with God’s will by trying to live the gospel and repenting (settling the negative parts of our account) when we do wrong.  We must reconcile ourselves and then recognize the Grace of God to be saved.  The Grace of God comes through Christ’s atonement, which I am ever grateful for.

2 Nephi, Chapter 9 (Part 2)

“The Ten Woes”

Jacob uses the word “wo” ten times in verses 27 to 39.  Verse 27 says, “But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!”  I know that I stand firm in the gospel because the idea that I could ever deny what I know now to be true, seems impossible.  I have never understood my friends and family, who take part in the covenants of baptism and those made in the temple and then deny them by leaving the church or taking part in those actions that are so obviously wrong to me.  I am sad for them, because I know that the judgement will be harder on them because they have denied the truth they have been shown.

What would the Lord have us do with our riches?  The Lord wants us to give our treasures to the poor and needy, not treasure them up for ourselves (v. 30).

What is the difference between a person who is deaf or blind and a person who “will not hear” or “will not see”?  Someone who is deaf can listen with their heart, but if they do not, they are  choosing not to listen.  Those who are blind can also see with their heart, and if they will not see, they are choosing to ignore God.  The spirit will always find the best way for us to hear or see the messages from God (v. 31-32).

Who are the “uncircumcised of heart”?  The footnote for the phrase “uncircumcised of heart” refers to Romans 2:29.  This scripture says, “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”  Those who praise of men are proud and do not give credit to God, who gives us all that we have.  They are too proud to keep covenants of God in their hearts.  They may live the letter of God’s law by doing what is asked of them, but they do not keep the laws in their hearts (v. 33).

What does it mean to “perish”, “die”, or be “thrust down to hell”?  It is a reference to spiritual death where we are separated from God.  In D&C 19:15-28, we learn that if we choose not to accept the Savior’s atonement we suffer as He did.  On a different note, the scriptures tell us that those who kill another with the intention to kill are worthy of death in the physical sense as well (Romans 1:32).

Verse 38 reads, “And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.”  I think to see God’s face, in sin, would provide the most ashamed feeling possible. To know that He knows exactly what we’ve done and to know that He is perfect, would be awful.  “Wo” would be a good word to describe that felling of shame and sorrow that would bring.

When is wisdom foolishness?

President Hinckley’s six “B’s” were introduced to the youth of the church just after I graduated from Laurels into Relief Society.  I did not come to know them as well as those who were a few years younger than me.  They are Be grateful, Be smart, Be clean, Be true, Be humble, Be prayerful.  According to President Hinckley, an education helps us in the competitive workplace of the world.  Our worth in the world depends on the education we have and so we should sacrifice whatever is necessary, so that we can gain more knowledge.  But we must also remember the words of Jacob, when we are seeking knowledge.

“O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish (v. 28).”  Jacob says the danger in great learning is letting ourselves feel like we know more or better than God.

What is the difference between learning and wisdom?  God is wise because he is all knowing.  God knows what is best for us.  Being learned is knowing what you’ve been taught, but doesn’t guarantee truth and does not mean it’s always what is best.  If because we are learned, we think we are wiser than our parents, leaders, or even God,than we are not.  As soon as we think we are wise, we have undoubtedly become the opposite.  Our parents, leaders and God have other experiences and knowledge that we don’t have.

“But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God (v. 29)”  According to Jacob, in order to be wise, we must listen to the counsels of God.  We can listen to his counsels by reading scriptures, attending church, reading church magazines, having family home evening, and so much more.  We can be wise by following what we learn in the gospel, because it is truth and is from God.

“Something to S.M.I.L.E. about”

In verse 39 Jacob writes, “O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.”

“S.M.I.L.E.” stands for “spiritually-minded is life eternal.”  This acronym was created by members of a youth council.  They told the youth ‘You smile when you are happy, and there is not other way to eternal happiness than being spiritually minded’.  To be spiritually minded is to remember the bigger picture, which is the plan of Salvation or the plan of Happiness.  If we are spiritually minded we keep the greater goal in sight, which makes life easier to live and the choices we will make when thinking of the eternal goals, lead to eternal life.  We must remember to listen to the spirit, pray, read the scriptures, and decide now what not to do and what to do so that when we are faced with decisions in every-day life, it will be easier to make the right choice.

“Carnally minded” is thinking of worldly things or things of the flesh.  Being “carnally minded” pushes the spirit away and leads to spiritual death.  We need to evaluate our lives and get rid of the things of the flesh, so that we can be more spiritually minded.

Who is the keeper of the gate?

Putting my name in place of brethren, makes verses 40 and 41 more personal to me.

“O, my beloved [Mary], give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.

“O then, my beloved [Mary], come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.”

 I think the gate is the judgement, since that is what we must go through to get to the kingdom of God.  The Savior is the judge (“keeper of the gate”) and it is only through His Atonement and following the paths that He laid before us, that we can enter into God’s presence.

How do we spend our money and time?

“Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness (v. 51).”

I try hard to use my money for the things of worth.  We do not have much, so there is a lot of thought put into what we spend it on.  I cannot say the same for how I spend my time.  I’m sure there are some things in my daily life that I need to evaluate and decide if they are of real worth.  Do these things really enrich my life and bring me closer to God?  If I truly feasted on the things that will continue forever, such as knowledge and relationships, I would truly delight in the fatness that would come of it.

2 Nephi, Chapter 9 (Part 1)

The power of the Atonement

In my study guide, Joseph Fielding Smith is quoted to have said that this chapter “should be carefully read by every person seeking salvation.”  I’m seeking salvation, so this will take more time in my posting.  I think I will split this chapter into to two posts.

To start off I read the chapter heading.  This chapter has importance because it maps out the rest of the plan of salvation, which is still to come (i.e.. the gathering of Israel, the resurrection, the judgment, and the reward in Heaven).  The greatest motivator for living a good life is the knowledge of what will come after death.  The Atonement is mentioned twice in the heading of this chapter, showing just how important it is to the Lord’s plan.  Understanding the atonement is a lifelong process.  I pray that I will continue to learn and strive to use the atonement in my life.

What if there were no resurrection?

Earth  –>  Paradise/Hell  -and-  The Grave  –>  The Resurrection  –>  The Judgment

When a person dies, their body and spirit are separated. The body lies in a grave and their spirit goes to Spirit Paradise or Hell to await the Resurrection.  There must be a resurrection because we will all be judged and at that judgement we must appear before God in our body.

Jesus-Portrait

What did Jesus Christ do for us because “all men” will die?  The Savior atoned for our sins and died for all mankind.  We all will die and His death brought the resurrection to everyone.

Verse 7 says, “Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.”  The atonement is infinite because it applies to all men for all time.  What would happen to our bodies if Christ’s infinite atonement had not brought the “power of the resurrection”?  Our bodies and spirits would remain separated after our physical death and their would be no way for us to progress in the life to come.  We would also be subject to Satan, because he couldn’t be with God and Christ.  This separation from God would apply to all men, good or bad.

How to escape the monster death and hell

When I think of what a monster is, I think of something scary that is likely to hurt or kill.  Death is like a monster because it can be scary, it can hurt, and it kills.  Verse 10 discusses the monster of death and hell, which are physical and spiritual death.  Physical death is separation of body and spirit and spiritual death is separation of spirit from God.

Where do spirits go when the body goes to the grave?  They go to spirit hell/paradise while the body goes to the grave.

Why do some spirits go to hell and some to paradise?  Spirit paradise is for the righteous souls, and spirit hell is for those that are not righteous.

What happens to our spirits and our bodies at the resurrection and how will the resurrected body be different from the mortal body?  At the resurrection, the spirits and bodies of all who ever lived, will be reunited in their immortal perfect state with a perfect knowledge.

Why did Jacob exclaim “O how great the goodness of our God?”  Without the plan, which included the Savior’s atonement, the resurrection would not be.  God wanted to give us the chance to live with Him again, which brings the greatest happiness to His children. (v. 10-13)

What happens after the resurrection?

After the resurrection there will be a judgement.  We will have a perfect knowledge of all the right and wrong we’ve done.  The things we’ve repented for have been forgiven and forgotten by the Lord who is the Judge of us all.  Those who are righteous will see all the good they’ve done and be happy.  Those who are not righteous will know all the bad they’ve done and will feel unworthy in the presence of the Lord, possibly even frightened because of His purity. (v. 13-15)

The power of the Atonement

What is the world’s way of taking care of sins?  The world’s way is to rationalize why they are done.  For example, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die”.  The world would have us think that there is nothing after this life, so we should enjoy this life with no thoughts of the eternal consequences.

How do we justify sin?  We justify it by saying there is a reason for it.  (For example, I live this lifestyle because of love.)  People justify sins everyday. (“I only did it once”, “Everyone was doing it”, “I needed a break”, etc..)

If we allow the Savior to take care of our sins with the atonement, He removes them from our list of sins.

What must we do so the Atonement will take care of our sins?  In verse 23 we learn that in order for the atonement to work for us, we must have a perfect faith in Christ, repent and be baptized.  If we repent, we will inherit the kingdom of God, have a fullness of joy, be delivered from spiritual death, Satan and eternal damnation, and we will be saved. (v. 18-19, 23-24)

What did Jesus do to make this possible?  Jesus suffered the atonement for this to be possible.  “And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam (v. 21).”  My Savior, has saved my soul.  I have to be willing to accept it now.  He truly loves me, to suffer not only for me, but for my loved ones also (Not to mention every person that ever lived or will live).


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

Testimony

I made an album with my dad in 2011. Check it out!

Testimony

NEW!!! Digital Downloads (mp3) available directly from the site.

Current Study

Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

Learn More:

I'm a Mormon

The Book of Mormon

You can order a free copy of the Book of Mormon here:

Book of Mormon Request

Archives

Follow me on Facebook:

Popular Posts

My Wonderful Husband and Artist


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 167 other followers

%d bloggers like this: