Posts Tagged 'Words of Isaiah'

D&C Section 113

I know from experience, that studying the words of Isaiah can be very difficult. It is not always easy to understand what is meant by the things he wrote. I also know, however, that the words of Isaiah are some of the greatest words ever written. I think that I can safely say this, considering the number of times that his words are repeated throughout all of the scriptures. This section is answers to some of the many questions that the saints have had about the words of Isaiah.

In Isaiah 11, we read of the Stem of Jesse (see Isaiah 11). Here is what the prophet teaches us in this section:

1 Who is the Stem of Jesse spoken of in the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th verses of the 11th chapter of Isaiah?
2 Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ.
3 What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse?
4 Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power.
5 What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter?
6 Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.

The Stem of Jesse is Christ, who is a literal descendant of Jesse through his son King David. The rod that is a servant of Christ, and the root of Jesse that rightly had the keys are both references to Joseph Smith. At this point the keys and authority of the priesthood had been restored through him for the gathering of the children of God. Joseph Smith was a descendant of Jesse and Joseph through Ephraim. In fulfillment of the prophecy from Isaiah, Joseph Smith was raised up, prepared, called, anointed and set apart through the proper priesthood authority, to be an sign to the world and to begin the gathering of the house of Israel and the children of God.

7 Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?
8 He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.
9 What are we to understand by Zion loosing herself from the bands of her neck; 2d verse?
10 We are to understand that the scattered remnants are exhorted to return to the Lord from whence they have fallen; which if they do, the promise of the Lord is that he will speak to them, or give them revelation. See the 6th, 7th, and 8th verses. The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles.

In Isaiah 52:1-2, we read “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean (v. 1). Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion (v. 2).” In these latter-days, the people of Zion, must awake to the knowledge of Christ and must come unto Him. Those who have a right to the priesthood, need to return to it and get the strength that comes from it. All the children of God, need to realize their sins and repent. We must all return through the cleansing power of the atonement and break free from the bands of sin that Satan uses to hold us prisoner.

In Isaiah 52: 6-8 we read, “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I (v. 6). How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth (v. 7)! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion (v. 8 ).” Those of us who have returned to the gospel, have a duty to show the gospel to the world. We have a duty to help others learn how to repent and return to Christ. Through this, we all will be blessed and we will rejoice together in Christ.

I love the words of Isaiah. I love that we are seeing things that he prophesied about so long ago. I am so glad to be a part of the last days, when the gospel has been restored in it fullest. I hope that I can be a better example and that my words and actions will help to bring others to Christ.

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3 Nephi, Chapter 23

How do Isaiah’s words help us today?

“And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah (v. 1).”  The Savior used the word “search” rather than a word like “read”.  I think He did this to tell the people to ponder and study the words of Isaiah rather than just reading.  When we strictly read them, there are a lot of things that we can miss.  As we search them diligently, we will be inspired by the spirit to understand and apply the scriptures to our lives.

Elder Henry B. Eyring said, “We treasure the word of God not only by reading the words of the scriptures but by studying them.  We may be nourished more by pondering a few words, allowing the Holy Ghost to make them treasures to us, than by passing quickly and superficially over who chapters of scripture.” (“Feed My Lambs,” Ensign, November 1997, p. 84.)  Pondering the scriptures is one of the keys to searching the scriptures.  When we search them, we should allow the spirit to be with us and inspire us.  We need to read and think about how the things we have read can work in our lives.  When we sincerely and diligently search them, they will hold a place in our hearts of great worth and we will treasure that worth.  The words of the scriptures should hold a place in our hearts above all other words.  And therefore, the words of Isaiah should be some of the most treasured words in our lives.

How should we study the scriptures?  In Joshua 1:8 we read, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”  We should think about the words we read throughout the day and night.  In 2 Timothy 2:15 we read, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, brightly dividing the word of truth.” We must never be ashamed of the gospel, but should be excited for it and want to live it.  In 1 Nephi 15:25 we read, “Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things.”  We need to heed the words in the scriptures, meaning that we need to pay close attention to them.  In 1 Nephi 19:24 we read, “Wherefore I spake unto them, saying: Hear ye the words of the prophet, ye who are a remnant of the house of Israel, a branch who have been broken off; hear ye the words of the prophet, which were written unto all the house of Israel, and liken them unto yourselves, that ye may have hope as well as your brethren from whom ye have been broken off; for after this manner has the prophet written.”  We need to hear and liken the words to our lives.  The scriptures are written to be useful in our lives.  In 2 Nephi 4:15 we read, “And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.”  We should delight in the scriptures and study with the intention of learning from them.  Finally, in Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:37 we read, “And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”  We need to treasure the words of the scriptures.

“For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles (v. 2).  And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake (v. 3).  Therefore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles (v. 4).  And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things (v. 5).”  The Savior asked the people to study the words of Isaiah and search the prophets.  The words of Isaiah talk about all that should be important to the house of Israel, and the Gentiles.  He was truly a prophet and the Savior testified of the truth of his words.  If we search the scriptures, hearkening to the words there, we are given the promise of being saved.

Why is it important to keep an accurate record?

I love my journals.  When I was younger I wrote a lot of nonsense, but as I have grown older, I have found that being able to look back on my growth is a great blessing.  I forget things a lot easier these days, and without my journals, I would not be able to recall some really great experiences that I have had.  There have been times, when I have not been as good at keeping a journal.  I am disappointed when I realize that I did not write down things that happened that I know meant a lot to me.  I hope that my journals will continue to be a blessing in my life, but even more, I hope that they will someday help my children and their children.

“And now it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he said unto them again, after he had expounded all the scriptures unto them which they had received, he said unto them: Behold, other scriptures I would that ye should write, that ye have not (v. 6).  And it came to pass that he said unto Nephi: Bring forth the record which ye have kept (v. 7).  And when Nephi had brought forth the records, and laid them before him, he cast his eyes upon them and said (v. 8 ):  Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so (v. 9)?  And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled (v. 10).  And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them (v. 11)?”  The Savior points out to the Nephites that they did not write all that Samuel had prophesied and how it was fulfilled.  It was important that a record show that the resurrection of others began right after the resurrection of the Savior.  This is a principle of the doctrine of the church, that can be confusing to understand, but with this prophesy and its fulfillment, people will know that the resurrection started with the Savior and it is continuing as the Lord sees fit.

“And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written (v. 12).  And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded (v. 13).”  They were then given a commandment to record the prophesy and fulfillment of it.  This teaches us that even if time has passed, some things are important enough to recall from the past and record.

“And now it came to pass that when Jesus had expounded all the scriptures in one, which they had written, he commanded them that they should teach the things which he had expounded unto them (v. 14).”  When we keep records, we need to teach what we have learned to others.

Mosiah, Chapter 14

For anyone who may be reading this, I appologize for the extended break in posting that I have done.  I was asked to give a talk in church and spent the last few weeks doing that for my scripture study time.  The talk went well and now I am back.

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(Compare to Isaiah 53)

What did the Savior look like?

In verse 2, Isaiah describes the mortal Jesus Christ in this way, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him.”  When I think of a tender plant I think of the carrot I planted this year in my garden.  I planted several, but only one took root, and therefore it became more precious to me.  The birth of Jesus and his infancy was precious to those who knew of it.  He grew as a root out of dry ground because the spiritual condition of the Jews at the time of His birth was dry.  They did not have the living water to wet the ground.  The Savior took root among many unbelievers and taught them His gospel.

The Savior grew up to look like any other man.  He had nothing in his appearance that showed he was the Son of God, such as a halo or a glowing light.  He was not a man of great looks, but not comely either.  He looked like other men, but those who had faith in Him, could see the light of God in Him.  If the Savior had come in splendor and looked like he came straight from Heaven, everyone would have fallen at His feet to worship Him.  There would not have been the opportunity for the Jews to grow in faith.  God had his son come and live in a completely Mortal way, because only then would true believers have been able to show the amount of faith that they had in Him.  When He comes again, it will be in all His splendor.  All men will know that He is the Savior.  Those who have not believed that He has already come, will realize then that He is the Son of God.

In the words of the hymn, “O God, the Eternal Father” (no. 175),

“O God, th’Eternal Father, who dwells amid the sky, in Jesus’ name we ask thee to bless and sanctify, if we are pure before thee, this bread and cup of wine, that we may all remember that offering divine—

That sacred, holy off’ring, by man least understood, to have our sins remitted and take his flesh and blood, that we may ever witness the suff’ring of thy Son, and always have his Spirit to make our hearts as one.

When Jesus, the Anointed, descended from above and gave himself a ransom to win our souls with love—with no apparent beauty, that man should him desire—He was the promised Savior, to purify with fire.

How infinite that wisdom, the plan of holiness, that made salvation perfect and veiled the Lord in flesh, to walk upon his footstool and be like man, almost, in his exalted station, and die, or all was lost.”

I wonder how I what I would have done if I had lived when the Savior came.  Would I have realized what I had right there, or would I have denied Him.  I hope that I would have been one of those that knew Him and followed Him.

How do you feel about the Savior?

How would people treat the Savior?  They would despise and reject Him, turning their faces away from Him (v. 3).  They would oppress and afflict Him (v. 7).  Then he would be put in prison, tried and killed by the people (v. 8 ).  The people treated the Savior this way, because they were ashamed of their own sins.  People hurt those trying to do right, when they feel that how they are living is not right. The Savior preached of doing what was right.  He healed people, which probably made some jealous with their own ailments.  

How would the Savior respond?  He would bear the grief and sorrow of the people (v. 4).  Then he would be wounded for the sins of others and heal them with his pain (v. 5). He would bear the sins of the people (v. 11).  He would make intercession for all sinners (v. 12).  We know that God allowed the people to treat Him this way, because the Savior had to understand all the grief and sorrow that any man would feel.  He allowed His Son to be hurt because Jesus had to feel the pain that any man would feel.  In order for the Savior to pay the price for each of us and truly give us the atonement, He had to suffer all of these things.

 Many people today are despising and rejecting the Lord.  They openly deny that He could have been the Savior.  They refuse to believe His gospel.  Some say He was merely a prophet and deny that He is the Son of God.  Some use His holy name in vain.  Others deny Him, by refusing to repent and use the atonement in their lives.  We must not be a denier of Christ.  We can show our love for Him, by sharing His gospel and telling others that He is the Christ.  Teaching our children of Him is a wonderful way to show our love for Him.  We can also show our love personally by accepting the gift of the atonement, which He gave to each of us, so that we can live again.

Can you see what it means?

          

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not (v. 3).  Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted (v. 4).  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (v. 5).  All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all (v. 6).”

The Savior bore our grief and sorrows as he prayed in Gesthemene.  We can be healed by His stripes because He has allowed each of us to use the atonement in our lives.  He has already taken on Himself all of our pain, sorrow and grief.  If we accept and use the atonement, these things will be removed from us.  So many times we turn away from this gift that he has given us.  We do things our way instead of the Lord’s way and we bring upon us this pain, sorrow and grief.  It is the natural man to do things our own way.

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth (v. 7).  He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people was he stricken (v. 8 ).  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no evil, neither was any deceit in his mouth (v. 9).”  The Savior was crucified along with two thieves and therefore made his grave with the wicked because He died along with them.  

The prophets often speak of the future.  Isaiah told of these things long before the Savior lived on the earth.  I know all of these things to be true and that we can study these things in the New Testament of the scriptures.  What a wonderful blessing it is to be given prophets to guide and direct us.  I am so glad that I know that we still have modern day prophets who receive revelation that is current for our day.  I am so grateful to these prophets, to God for giving us so much help to live righteously and for my Savior Jesus Christ who gave all for me and those I love to be together forever.

1. O God, th’Eternal Father,
Who dwells amid the sky,
In Jesus’ name we ask thee
To bless and sanctify,
If we are pure before thee,
This bread and cup of wine,
That we may all remember
That offering divine—
2. That sacred, holy off’ring,
By man least understood,
To have our sins remitted
And take his flesh and blood,
That we may ever witness
The suff’ring of thy Son,
And always have his Spirit
To make our hearts as one.
3. When Jesus, the Anointed,
Descended from above
And gave himself a ransom
To win our souls with love—
With no apparent beauty,
That man should him desire—
He was the promised Savior,
To purify with fire.
4. How infinite that wisdom,
The plan of holiness,
That made salvation perfect
And veiled the Lord in flesh,
To walk upon his footstool
And be like man, almost,
In his exalted station,
And die, or all was lost.1. O God, th’Eternal Father,
Who dwells amid the sky,
In Jesus’ name we ask thee
To bless and sanctify,
If we are pure before thee,
This bread and cup of wine,
That we may all remember
That offering divine—
2. That sacred, holy off’ring,
By man least understood,
To have our sins remitted
And take his flesh and blood,
That we may ever witness
The suff’ring of thy Son,
And always have his Spirit
To make our hearts as one.
3. When Jesus, the Anointed,
Descended from above
And gave himself a ransom
To win our souls with love—
With no apparent beauty,
That man should him desire—
He was the promised Savior,
To purify with fire.
4. How infinite that wisdom,
The plan of holiness,
That made salvation perfect
And veiled the Lord in flesh,
To walk upon his footstool
And be like man, almost,
In his exalted station,
And die, or all was lost

2 Nephi, Chapter 27

(Compare to Isaiah 29)

How are the wicked like the blind and starving?

“But, behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles—yea, behold all the nations of the Gentiles and also the Jews, both those who shall come upon this land and those who shall be upon other lands, yea, even upon all the lands of the earth, behold, they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations (v. 1)—”  In the last days all people, gentiles and jews, will be “drunken with iniquity”.  I guess that means that we are all under the influence of sin.  Being lost in sin is much like being drunk because when you are drunk you are confused, unable to control your passions, and influenced easily by those around you no matter what you know is right.  Sometimes sinners can be so lost in sin that they don’t even realize the effect it has on their lives, their futures, or others around them.

In the last days we will be “visited” with thunder, earthquake, a great noise, storm, tempest, and with the “flame of devouring fire” (v. 2).  Those who fight against Zion, will be like a dream (v. 3), they will be drunk and stagger without any drink (v. 4), and they will be sleeping and their leaders will be covered (v. 5).  I think this means that those who fight against Zion will be put aside and forgotten by the Lord, because they have rejected the prophets and all they say about Christ.  This describes what happened during the apostasy.  Everyone was so wicked that the gospel was taken from the earth for a time.  The footnote for “covered” in Isaiah says that their mouths will be covered.  The wicked are like a starving man who dreams about eating, because they will dream of a better life, but it without the gospel they will not be able to have it.

In D&C 38:29-30 we read, “Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land (v. 29).  I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear (v. 30).”  We can have faith that if we are prepared for the temptations of the world, we will be able to withstand them and have no need to fear the “dreadful” day of the Lord.

Why weren’t all the gold plates translated?

A portion of the gold plates were sealed.  They were sealed because a commandment was given by God.  In Ether 4:4-7 we read, “Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared (v. 4).  Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord (v. 5).  For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord (v. 6).  And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are (v. 7).”  

In verse 10 of chapter 27 we read, “But the words which are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof.”  This chapter refers to Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon.  He did not deliver the book (the gold plates) to anyone, but they were sealed again, and the sealed portion will be revealed when we have repented and are ready to receive it.  The Lord would tell Joseph Smith, “Touch not the things which are sealed, for I will bring them forth in mine own due time; for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work (v. 21).  Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee, and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men (v. 22).”

How do we know Joseph Smith really had the gold plates?

“Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein (v. 12).  And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said that the words of the faithful should speak as if it were from the dead (v. 13).  Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God (v. 14)!”  We have the testimony of the three witnesses and then the eight witnesses, so that we can believe that Joseph Smith really had the gold plates.

The Lord’s prophecies come to pass

We know who this chapter is referring to.  “But the book shall be delivered unto a man (v. 9)…” refers to Joseph Smith Jr., who translated the plates.  Before the translation, Joseph gave the plates to Martin Harris, “… he shall deliver these words unto another (v. 9)…” and “Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another (v. 15)…”.  Martin Harris took the book to Charles Anthon and Samuel Mitchell who were both learned men who were unable to read the Book, just as was prophesied in this chapter, “… that he may show them unto the learned (v. 15)…” and “Then shall the learned say: I cannot read it (v. 18).”  Joseph was then told that he would translate the Plates, which was also prophesied, “… the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say: I am not learned (v. 19).  Then shall the Lord God say unto him: The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee (v. 20).”  Then after the Book of Mormon had been translated, it was seen by three witnesses, “… that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it (v. 12)…”, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer.  Then eight more witnesses would be allowed to see the Book of Mormon, “… there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few according to the will of God (v. 13)…”, Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer Jr., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith Sr., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel H. Smith.

In Isaiah Chapter 29, only a few verses tell of this prophesy.  “And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed (v. 11):  And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned (v. 12).”  Isaiah was a true prophet because the things he said came true in the latter days.

What is the “marvelous work and a wonder”?

“Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men (v. 25)—Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid (v. 26).” (Isaiah 29:13-14)  These words were spoken to Joseph Smith, which leads me to believe the marvelous work and wonder would be the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith.

It was prophesied that in the last days, many marvelous things happen.  “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness (v. 29).  And the meek also shall increase, and their joy shall be in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (v. 30).  For assuredly as the Lord liveth they shall see that the terrible one is brought to naught, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off (v. 31);  And they that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught (v. 32)… They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine (v. 35).”  The gospel would be heard and learned by those who were sleeping in apostasy.  This prophesy of Joseph Smith has been fulfilled and we are living in the marvelous time that the Lord spoke of, when the gospel would be able to be heard by all.  I am so grateful to live in the dispensation of the fullness of the gospel.  I know that my life is greatly blessed because of it.

2 Nephi, Chapter 25

(Just a note:  When I opened to Chapter 25 and realized it was no longer words from a chapter in Isaiah, I actually was sad.  This time through, the words of Isaiah have been a true blessing in my life and I hope to remember the things that I have gotten out of these past several chapters.  I have truly come to love the words of Isaiah)

Why is Nephi easier to understand than Isaiah?

“Now I, Nephi, do speak somewhat concerning the words which I have written, which have been spoken by the mouth of Isaiah. For behold, Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand; for they know not concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews (v. 1).  For I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; for their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations (v. 2).  Yea, and my soul delighteth in the words of Isaiah, for I came out from Jerusalem, and mine eyes hath beheld the things of the Jews, and I know that the Jews do understand the things of the prophets, and there is none other people that understand the things which were spoken unto the Jews like unto them, save it be that they are taught after the manner of the things of the Jews (v. 5).  But behold, I, Nephi, have not taught my children after the manner of the Jews; but behold, I, of myself, have dwelt at Jerusalem, wherefore I know concerning the regions round about; and I have made mention unto my children concerning the judgments of God, which hath come to pass among the Jews, unto my children, according to all that which Isaiah hath spoken, and I do not write them (v. 6).”

Nephi understood Isaiah’s words because he knew the things that the Jews were doing.  Nephi had lived in Jerusalem and he knew the land and people that were there.  Just as we have a way we speak today, the Jews had a different way of speaking than the Nephites and Nephi knew how the Jews had spoken.  When we learn more about Jewish customs and culture, we can understand Isaiah’s words better.  We are so privileged to live in a time when it is so easy to learn about pretty much anything.  The Nephites did not have this luxury.  We should take advantage of this, so that we can learn more.

“Wherefore, I write unto my people, unto all those that shall receive hereafter these things which I write, that they may know the judgments of God, that they come upon all nations, according to the word which he hath spoken (v. 3).  Wherefore, hearken, O my people, which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words; for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy. But I give unto you a prophecy, according to the spirit which is in me; wherefore I shall prophesy according to the plainness which hath been with me from the time that I came out from Jerusalem with my father; for behold, my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn (v. 4).  But behold, I proceed with mine own prophecy, according to my plainness; in the which I know that no man can err; nevertheless, in the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass (v. 7).  Wherefore, they are of worth unto the children of men, and he that supposeth that they are not, unto them will I speak particularly, and confine the words unto mine own people; for I know that they shall be of great worth unto them in the last days; for in that day shall they understand them; wherefore, for their good have I written them (v. 8 ).”

Unlike Isaiah, Nephi writes plainly so that the common person can understand his prophesies.  Nephi suggests that we read the words of Isaiah with the spirit of prophecy, so that they will be plain to us.  We can have personal revelation given to us through the spirit if we want it.  What is personal revelation?  In Revelations 19:10, we read, “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  Therefore,if we have a testimony of the Savior, we will have the spirit of prophecy.

Nephi also says that those who are in the last days will know what is meant by Isaiah because His prophesies will be fulfilled.  I think that is why it has been easier for me to understand them this time.  I feel that in the last few years the world has changed in ways that prove the second coming is truly close.  Isaiah’s words are applicable to our lives today.

How accurate are the Lord’s prophecies?

“Wherefore, it hath been told them concerning the destruction which should come upon them, immediately after my father left Jerusalem; nevertheless, they hardened their hearts; and according to my prophecy they have been destroyed, save it be those which are carried away captive into Babylon (v. 10).”  Babylon destroyed Jerusalem, and the Jews were taken captive into Babylon.

“. . . And notwithstanding they have been carried away they shall return again, and possess the land of Jerusalem; wherefore, they shall be restored again to the land of their inheritance (v.11).”  The Jews were freed and returned to Jerusalem.

“. . . and when the day cometh that the Only Begotten of the Father, yea, even the Father of heaven and of earth, shall manifest himself unto them in the flesh, behold, they will reject him, because of their iniquities, and the hardness of their hearts, and the stiffness of their necks (v. 12).”  Jesus was born and they rejected him.

“Behold, they will crucify him; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days he shall rise from the dead. . . (v. 13)”  Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

“And behold it shall come to pass that after the Messiah hath risen from the dead, and hath manifested himself unto his people, unto as many as will believe on his name, behold, Jerusalem shall be destroyed again. . . (v. 14)”  Jerusalem was destroyed again, but by the Romans.

“Wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered among all nations; yea, and also Babylon shall be destroyed; wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered by other nations (v. 15).”  The Jews were scattered and Babylon was destroyed.

“And after they have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind—and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, and look not forward any more for another Messiah, then, at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things (v. 16).”  The Jews are being persuaded to believe in Christ through missionary work today.

“And the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state. Wherefore, he will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder among the children of men (v. 17).”  The saints of God are being gathered together as they repent and come unto Him.

In verse 9, Nephi tells of us a promise the Lord gives us.  “And as one generation hath been destroyed among the Jews because of iniquity, even so have they been destroyed from generation to generation according to their iniquities; and never hath any of them been destroyed save it were foretold them by the prophets of the Lord.”  We need to heed the words of the prophet, because we have been told to prepare.  We have been given signs that will occur before the wicked our destroyed and the second coming occurs.  In D&C 87:8 we read, “Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.”  We need to be prepared, by being righteous.  We must stand firm and immovable in the faith, as the prophets have told us in these days because the Lord’s prophecies will be fulfilled.

“The purpose of the law of Moses”

Jesus-Portrait

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do (v. 23).  And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled (v. 24).  For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments (v. 25).” Since they believed in the coming of Christ and His sacrifice, the law had become “dead” to them.  The Law of Moses was fulfilled by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

“And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out (v. 29).  And, inasmuch as it shall be expedient, ye must keep the performances and ordinances of God until the law shall be fulfilled which was given unto Moses (v. 30).”  The Nephites were to continue to give their sacrifices until the law was fulfilled, because that was the commandment of God.  Once the law was fulfilled, they did not need to follow the Law of Moses and perform the sacrifices it called for, but instead give a personal sacrifice to the Lord as we do today.  We can take the sacrament each week to remind ourselves of the sacrifice that Christ gave for us.

We should continue to keep Christ in our lives and the lives of those around us.  “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins (v. 26).”

2 Nephi, Chapter 24

(Isaiah 14)

The great and dreadful day of the Lord (Continued from Chapter 23)

More things that Isaiah prophesied would happen to the righteous at the time of the second coming:

  • They will choose Israel, and set them in their own land (v.1)
  • The people shall take them and bring them to their place (v. 2)
  • They shall return to their lands of promise (v. 2)
  • They shall take them captives unto whom they were captives (v. 2)
  • They shall rule over their oppressors. (v. 2)
  • The Lord will give them rest, from sorrow, and from fear, and from the hard bondage (v. 3)

How did Lucifer fall from heaven?

The name Lucifer is written only once in the Bible, and it can be found in Isaiah 14.  Verse 12 reads, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”  Lucifer is the name that Satan had in the premortal existence.  In the Bible Dictionary we can read more about the name Lucifer.  “Literally the Shining One; also Lightbringer or Son of the Morning. Lucifer is also known as Satan or the devil. . . Apparently Lucifer is the name of the devil before his rebellion and fall. Latter-day revelation clarifies the fall of Lucifer and equates him with Satan.”  Isaiah mentions Lucifer in this chapter because the fall of the King of Babylon is like the fall of Satan. The King wanted all the glory of his victories and did not acknowledge God’s hand in it.  When Lucifer offered his plan in the premortal existence, he sought for the glory that belonged to God.  Because Lucifer wanted the glory, his plan was not chosen and he was angry and fell from the presence of God.

God had the power to stop Lucifer from rebelling against Him and taking so many souls with him.  But Lucifer had the gift of agency, and God will not take away the choices we have.  Lucifer chose to fall and become Satan.  In D&C 76 we read, “And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning (v. 26).  And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning (v. 27)!  And while we were yet in the Spirit, the Lord commanded us that we should write the vision; for we beheld Satan, that old serpent, even the devil, who rebelled against God, and sought to take the kingdom of our God and his Christ—(v. 28 )”  Then in Revelations 12:7-9 we read, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels (v. 7), And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven (v. 8 ).  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (v. 9).”  Likewise, the King of Babylon made the choice not to recognize the Lord’s hand in his work and therefore he and his followers fell.  

Isaiah continues, “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all nations (v. 26).  For the Lord of Hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul? And his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back (v. 27)?”  We too have the gift of agency.  We had this gift in the premortal existence and we chose to follow the Savior.  We use our agency everyday and we will determine if we will be with the righteous at the second coming and ultimately if we will live with our Father in Heaven again.

2 Nephi, Chapter 23

(Isaiah 13)

Why did Isaiah teach about Babylon?

“The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see (v. 1).”  Isaiah had a vision of Babylon.  Babylon can be found in the Bible Dictionary, “The capital of Babylonia. . . . During the Assyrian supremacy it became part of that empire, and was destroyed by Sennacherib. After the downfall of Assyria, Babylon became Nebuchadnezzar’s capital. He built an enormous city of which the ruins still remain. The city was square, and the Euphrates ran through the middle of it. According to Herodotus the walls were 56 miles in circumference, 335 ft. high, and 85 ft. wide. A large part of the city consisted of beautiful parks and gardens. The chief building was the famous temple of Bel. Inscriptions that have been recently deciphered show that the Babylonians had accounts of the Creation and the Deluge in many ways similar to those given in the book of Genesis. Other inscriptions contain accounts of events referred to in the Bible histories of the kingdoms of Israel and Judaea, and also give valuable information as to the chronology of these periods. . . . In D&C 1: 16, Babylon means the world.”  Babylon is the high places of the world, not of the Lord.

In the chapter heading we read, “Destruction of Babylon is a type of destruction at Second Coming…”.  Isaiah said that Babylon would fall forever.   We learn in the scriptures of other places that fall.  In 1 Nephi 11:36 we learn of Nephi’s vision of the Tree of Life, “And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”  In 2 Nephi 12:12 we read, “For the day of the Lord of Hosts soon cometh upon all nations, yea, upon every one; yea, upon the proud and lofty, and upon every one who is lifted up, and he shall be brought low.”  Also, in Proverbs 16:18 we read, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”  We learn from these scriptures that sin and pride precede destruction.

Even in our day, the prophets have foretold of the destruction of Babylon, “They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall (D&C 1:16).”  How do we avoid being part of Babylon today?  We can avoid being part of the wicked who will fall if we live the gospel fully, avoid sin by following the commandments, and be an example to others rather than enabling them to sin and become full of pride.

The great and dreadful day of the Lord

“Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty (v. 6).  Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it (v. 9).”  The day of the second coming of the Lord is at hand.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5):”  The second coming will be both “great” and “dreadful”.  The study guide shows us an example of something being both great and dreadful.  In a movie theatre you can see many different movies.  I can choose to go watch a love story, while at the same time, my husband could choose to watch a comedy.  I can experience my love story without being effected by the comedy playing in the room next door.  I don’t know much about what my husband would be experiencing during his movie.  Just like we can all attend the same movie theatre, the Savior will come to us all. The experience that those who choose to live righteously will have, will be different from that of the wicked.  “And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces; and her time is near to come, and her day shall not be prolonged. For I will destroy her speedily; yea, for I will be merciful unto my people, but the wicked shall perish (v. 22).”  For one, the experience will be great and for the other it will be dreadful.

These are the things that the righteous will experience:

  • “for mine anger is not upon them that rejoice in my highness” (v. 3)
  •  “shall all hands be faint, every man’s heart shall melt” (v. 7)
  • “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.” (v. 10)
  • “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” (v. 12)
  • “I will be merciful unto my people” (v. 22)

These are the things that the wicked will experience:

  • The noise of the multitude in the mountains like as of a great people, a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together, the Lord of Hosts mustereth the hosts of the battle (v. 4).  They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, yea, the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land (v. 5).
  •   Shall all hands be faint, every man’s heart shall melt (v. 7)
  •  And they shall be afraid (v. 8 )
  • Pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them (v. 8 )
  • Lay the land desolate (v. 9)
  •  He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it (v. 9)
  • For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (v. 10)
  • And I will punish the world for evil, and the wicked for their iniquity (v. 11)
  • The arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay down the haughtiness of the terrible. (v. 11)
  •  I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. (v. 12)
  • Shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of Hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. (v. 13)
  •  Shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land. (v. 14)
  • Every one that is proud shall be thrust through (v. 15)
  • every one that is joined to the wicked shall fall by the sword. (v. 15)
  • Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes (v. 16)
  • Their houses shall be spoiled and their wives ravished. (v. 16)
  • Their bows shall also dash the young men to pieces (v. 18 )
  • No pity on the fruit of the womb (v. 18 )
  • Shall not spare children. (v. 18 )
  • The wicked shall perish. (v. 22)

Their is a lot to fear if we are wicked.  I pray that those I love will try their best to live righteously.  I am excited for the second coming of the Lord.  I think that it will be a wonderful time of happiness and peace.

2 Nephi, Chapter 22

(Isaiah 12)

Praise the Lord

 “And in that day thou shalt say: O Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedest me (v. 1).  Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation (v.2).  Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation (v. 3).  And in that day shall ye say: Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted (v. 4).  Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth (v. 5).  Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee (v. 6).”

What a beautiful chapter of the Book of Mormon.  How can we praise the Lord?  We can praise the Lord with prayer, tell others about Him, and sing praises to Him.  I love to sing praises unto the Lord.  When I sing of Him, I hope that others can feel my testimony through my song.  

In John 14:15 we read, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  By doing what we have been asked to do, we can praise the Lord.  It is true that actions speak louder than words.   And the Lord has given us everything, so He truly deserves our praises.  I will try harder to show my love and appreciation for my Savior, by having a stronger resolve to keep all the commandments that we have been given.  Then, perhaps others will see His light through me and find their way home.

2 Nephi, Chapter 21

(Isaiah 11)

Is the thought of being judged by Jesus Christ a frightening idea or a comforting one?

Jesus-Portrait

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots (v. 1).  And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (v. 2); And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears (v. 3).  But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked (v. 4).  And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins (v. 5).”   We have an explanation for these scriptures found in D&C 113:1-2, “WHO is the Stem of Jesse spoken of in the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th verses of the 11th chapter of Isaiah?  Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ.”  We learn also from Jeremiah 23:5-6, that the branch is also the Lord, Jesus Christ.  “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

The wicked are the only ones who need to fear the judgement of the Lord.  In D&C 45:3-5 we read, “Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.”  The righteous will be spared and have everlasting life.  Being included with the righteous is such an awesome goal.  If I can remember that every good choice that I make has eternal glories as the reward, I will not have a problem choosing them over the temptations that will come my way.

Who is the “rod” and the “root”?

In D&C 113:3-6 we read, “What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse?  Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power.  What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter?  Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.”

When I read this, I think of the prophet Joseph Smith.  We know his lineage from earlier scripture.  He was the Lord’s servant, who restored the keys of the priesthood to the earth and started the gathering of Israel in these latter-days.  D&C 110:11-16 reads, “After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north (v. 11).  After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed (v. 12).  After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said (v. 13):  Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come (v. 14)—To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse (v. 15)—Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors (v. 16).”

The prophet Joseph Smith was talked about throughout the Earth’s history.  His purpose was great and he did all that the prophets foretold of him.  Now because the priesthood has been restored, we know that the Second Coming is near and those who are righteous need not fear the judgement that will come with it.

What will the Millennium be like?

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and fatling together; and a little child shall lead them (v. 6).  And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox (v. 7).  And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den (v. 8 ).  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (v. 9).”

During the Millennium, animals which we see as dangerous and wild in the world today, will be gentle.  No animal will kill another because every thing will know the Lord.  The world will be as it was in the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve.  The difference is that man will know all that was learned from life before the Millennium, where Adam and Eve did not have knowledge until partaking of the fruit.  I look forward to the day when I will not fear the death of my family from animals or other people.  What a glorious time that will be.

The gathering of Israel

“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his crest shall be glorious (v. 10).”  We have learned in earlier scripture that the church and gospel will be an ensign to the world in these latter days.  “And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea (v. 11).  And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth (v. 12).”  The ensign is the Lord’s way of gathering the children of Israel.  

“The envy of Ephraim also shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim (v. 13).  But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines towards the west; they shall spoil them of the east together; they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them (v. 14).  And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind he shall shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dry shod (v. 15).  And there shall be a highway for the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt (v. 16).”

In the world today, there is much fighting over lands because of a birthright given in ancient times.  When the tribes are gathered, they will no longer fight with one another.  Instead they will hurry to gather together as the children of God.  They will even cross over dry land where water was, just like those who crossed the Red Sea when Moses led them out of Egypt.  The second coming will be a time of wonderful miracles.  We have been told to help in the gathering of the Israel.  We can do this by remembering that we are all missionaries.  We need to live as an example of Christ and tell our friends, families, and neighbors about the gospel.  It is our job to do work in the temple for those who have died without a knowledge of the gospel, so that those who have passed on, will also be able to gather together as followers of Christ.

2 Nephi, Chapter 20

(Isaiah 10)

What is our responsibility to the poor and the needy?

“Wo unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed (v. 1); To turn away the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless (v. 2)!”  The Lord says we should not mistreat the poor, widows or the fatherless.  In D&C 104:15-18 we read, “And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine (v. 15).  But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low (v. 16).  For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves (v. 17).  Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment (v. 18).”  When we give money to the fast offerings and other church funds such as the perpetual education fund, we are able to help those who are in need.  If we give of what we have, we will be blessed by the Lord.  We need to pay attention to others and needs that they have.  If we do so, with the spirit, we will be prompted of ways that we can serve others.

Look who’s working for the Lord!

“O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is their indignation (v. 5).  I will send him against a hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets (v. 6).”  What did the Lord mean by “O Assyrian the rod of mine anger”?  Assyria would be an instrument in the Lord’s hand.  The Lord would use Assyria to teach the wicked.  Who is the “hypocritical nation”?  We see in footnote 6a that this is in reference to Israel.  The Assyrians would take Israel.

“Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but in his heart it is to destroy and cut off nations not a few (v. 7).  For he saith: Are not my princes altogether kings (v. 8 )?  Is not Calno as Carchemish? Is not Hamath as Arpad? Is not Samaria as Damascus (v. 9)?  As my hand hath founded the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria (v. 10); Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and to her idols (v. 11)?”  The Assyrians were not aware that they were going to do the work of the Lord.  They were taking over Isreal the same as they would have taken over any other land.

“Wherefore it shall come to pass that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion and upon Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks (v. 12).  For he saith: By the strength of my hand and by my wisdom I have done these things; for I am prudent; and I have moved the borders of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man (v. 13); And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people; and as one gathereth eggs that are left have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped (v. 14).”  The Assyrians felt that their strength and wisdom has caused Israel to fall at their hands.  The Lord would punish the king for his pride and boasting.  “Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself as if it were no wood (v. 15)!  Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of Hosts, send among his fat ones, leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire (v. 16).  And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame, and shall burn and shall devour his thorns and his briers in one day (v. 17); And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body; and they shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth (v. 18).  And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them (v. 19).”  Assyria would be burned by the fire of the Lord and all their glory would be lost because they boasted in their own strength.

Assyria was not being blessed for righteousness.  They were used by the Lord to teach the children of God that they had to repent of their sins.  Assyria would also be punished for their sins.  The wicked are used as instruments by God, just as we learn in Mormon 4:5, “But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.”  Does this happen today?  I think so.  We need to remember to always turn to the Lord and never allow ourselves to think that our successes are due solely to our work.  The Lord’s hand is in our lives and we owe all that we have to God.

The destruction of Assyria–a twice-fulfilled prophecy

My husband and I love to read books together.  It’s often fun to notice the use of foreshadowing as we read.  In Chapter 20, the Lord uses the destruction of Assyria as a way to foreshadow what will come in the future.  We learn from the chapter heading that the destruction of Assyria is like what will occur at the Savior’s second coming.  The wicked will be burned by the fire of the Lord leaving only a few and the house of Israel will be gathered together.  

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth (v. 20).  The remnant shall return, yea, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God (v. 21).  For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return; the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness (v.22).”    The remnant that is left, will turn away from wickedness and overflow with righteousness.

Their is wickedness in the world today.  Their are many who pervert the Lord’s ways.  I’ve noticed more people here in the US want to make what is good out to be evil and what is plainly evil out to be good.  But their is hope in the words of Isaiah.  “Therefore, thus saith the Lord God of Hosts: O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian; he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt (v. 24).  For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction (v. 25).  And the Lord of Hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; and as his rod was upon the sea so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt (v. 26).  And it shall come to pass in that day that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing (v. 27).”  The wickedness will cease and the wicked will be destroyed.  (The oppressors of Midian were slain, such as prince Oreb of the Midianites whose head was cut off on the rock of Oreb.)  The righteous who dwell in Zion will be saved from the wicked.  The oppression will be for just a little while, but the power of the Lord, who is “the anointed one,” will save them.

The Savior gives us the power to overcome any challenges we face, as long as we remain faithful to Him.  We are in the last days and the prophecy of Isaiah will be fulfilled in this dispensation.  The wicked will oppress us, but we will be saved.  I am so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and that it helps me to know what is right and wrong.  I am grateful for a testimony of my Savior and his saving power.


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.
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