Archive | September, 2014

Isaiah 2

13 Sep

Recently I have been thinking a great deal on the many prophecies that have been given and recorded in the scriptures; particularly those that deal with the last days. So I have decided to write some short posts addressing a few of these prophecies. Some have been fulfilled, some are in the process of being fulfilled, and some we are still waiting to see. I will draw from all the standard works, and in each post I will address only one prophesy.

Isaiah 2: 6-22

In the last two posts I discussed portions of the second chapter of Isaiah and their meaning, as well as their fulfillment. In doing so I compared those passages with 2 Nephi 12, as that chapter is simply quoting Isaiah 2. I am now going to briefly go over the rest of Isaiah 2, and thus also 2 Nephi 12. At this point Micah 4 is no long speaking the same prophecy, so I will not be mentioning it again in this post.

In 2 Nephi 12 Nephi is recording the words of Isaiah that he read on the brass plates. Because he had different records than we do today there are some differences between the account in the Bible and that given to us through Nephi. Some of these differences are insignificant; such as in verse 12 where upon every one that is lifted up‘ is changed to ‘upon every one who is lifted up. However, about half the verses do make significant changes to the meaning, which I will note as I address the meaning of this portion of the prophecy. Because I will be doing this comparison I will put Isaiah in red and 2 Nephi in green.

Verses 6-9 are a scathing rebuke against Israel, and, since Isaiah uses Israel as a kind of symbol of the world, it is a scathing rebuke of all people. In verse 4 he states God will rebuke many nations. In verse six he states “Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob.” Nephi clarifies “Therefore, O Lord.” So, Israel, or the house of Jacob will be rebuke. It is here that we are told why they are among those nations. They “be replenished from the east” (marrying outside the covenant); “are soothsayers” (fortune tellers); “please themselves in the children of strangers” (covenant or make deals with wicked men); “land also is full of silver and gold” (greedy for money); “land is also full of horses” (greedy for power); “land also is full of idols” (they worship false gods). This next one is kind of confusing; “the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself.” This seems like a good thing. But Nephi clarifies, rendering it “boweth not down” and “humbleth himself not” and so Isaiah says “forgive him not.” This is quite the list, and I think we can agree that it describes the world we live in.

The rest of the chapter is addressed to those that Isaiah just described. This is not made clear in Isaiah, but it is in Nephi; “O ye wicked ones” he records Isaiah saying. What follows is a dire warning. In Isaiah we read “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty.” But Nephi gives us a clearer picture of Isaiah’s warning. “for the fear of the Lord and the glory of his majesty shall smite thee.” This is a warning to the wicked concerning the second coming, for when Christ returns his glory and majesty will be so awesome that it will be painful to the wicked, and so Isaiah tells them to hide away to avoid being smitten.

But Isaiah doesn’t stop there; he continues his warning. Those mean and great men that refused to humble themselves are warned that they will be brought down, for at the second coming “the Lord alone shall be exalted.” In Isaiah it declares that “upon every one that is proud and lofty,” but in Nephi we are told that it “cometh upon all nations, yea, upon every one” but that the proud and lofty “shall be brought low.” So, all will experience the second coming, but only some will be smitten.

Nephi again clarifies that “the day of the Lord shall come upon” the earth and Isaiah is very detailed, and yet very symbolic, as to which areas or aspects of the world are going to suffer in that day. “cedars of Lebanon and…oaks of Bashan” (symbols of stature and thus those of high social position) “high mountains, and…hills that are lifted up” (as we saw in the first verses of this chapter, the mountains and hills refer to religions and religious organizations); “high tower, and…fenced wall” (military organizations); “ships of the sea, And…ships of Tarshish, and…pleasant pictures” (symbol of trade and economy, so businesses); “idols he shall utterly abolish” (meaning false gods). Then, again Isaiah declares that the lofty and haughty will be made low for “the Lord alone shall be exalted.” This is the second time that Isaiah makes this declaration.

The last few verses repeat the original warning; “they shall go into the holes of the rocks…the glory of his majesty shall smite them.” This warning is repeated three times in this chapter.

So, Isaiah prophecies here that no aspect of life will be untouched by the coming of Christ. Business, military, politics, society; all will be affected, and all who are proud, haughty, or lifted up in their minds will be smitten when that day comes. Isaiah’s final words here show us his love for us all. He pleads “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” In other words, ‘Stop relying on mortal men, for compared to God he is nothing. After seeing what will happen to those who rely on mortal men, can we really say any differently.

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