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Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 16

Isaiah sees the Lord—Isaiah’s sins are forgiven—He is called to prophesy—He prophesies of the rejection by the Jews of Christ’s teachings—A remnant will return—Compare Isaiah 6. About 559–545 B.C.

Chapter 16 is Isaiah’s own personal call from the Lord and is an indication of the spirit of those young lions (missionaries) sent to proclaim the gospel, and how to prepare them for their missions..

Vs. 1 The word “seraph” in Hebrew was singular, while “seraphim” was plural. Seraph means “bright, burning one.” His “train” are His followers. (Reminds me of “This train is bond for glory, this train….”

Vs. 2 This creature covers his face because he is humble; covers his feet because he is on holy ground; and flies to display his great power given to him by his creator.

Vs. 3 This verse, obviously, is a verse of praise to the Lord.

In the Hebrew language they do not have superlatives. (For instance, they don’t have “good, better, best.” rather they good, good, or good, good, good, etc. So if they say “Wo” in the scriptures, that’s bad. If they say “wo, wo”... that’s REALLY bad! And if you read “wo, wo, wo”... honey, you’d better watch out ‘cause you’re in BIG trouble here!”) So one “holy” would mean that something/someone is holy; two holies would mean that they are holier; and three holies would mean they are the holiest!. Of course, the Lord is the holiest of all!

Vs. 4 Maybe the posts of the door moving and the smoke suggest an earthquake of some kind,

Vs. 5 Isaiah asks, “How can I go out and speak the words of God to unclean people when I, myself, am unclean? The Lord cleanses in three ways... 1) with water, 2) with fire, and 3) with blood. These are His cleansing agents.

Vs. 6 Altar is made to burn incense on, but water is just as good as fire to cleanse the lips. The “live coal” represents the process of repentance and the workings of the atonement. This is a “living” gospel, after all.

Vs. 7 “You can now speak the words with clean lips, for you have been cleansed.”

Vs. 8 Jesus once said that unless we become like a little child, we can’t come unto Him. One beautiful aspect of a little child. shown here in this verse. Imagine being in a little class of Sunbeams (three and four-year-olds... Imagine being the teacher of those little ones, and saying to them, “I need a helper. Who will help me?” What happens? ALL hands go up! They don’t even know what you want them to do yet, but they just know that they want to help!

When are nineteen-year-old young boys like those Sunbeams? When the Lord says, “I need someone to go teach the gospel in Chile. It’s a tough mission, but is there anyone willing to go?” And these young men/women raise their hands and say, “Here am I! Send ME! I’LL go on a mission! I won’t date any girls/guys for two years, I’ll give up music and movies and tv.... I’ll even wear a tie... EVERY DAY! (hey, that’s a BIGGIE!!!)... I’ll learn another language... and hey!... I’ll even pay my own way!” This is the Spirit which Isaiah is talking about... Young men and women giving of themselves to preach the word to fellow brothers and sisters around the world. And the Lord says, “I need someone to go to Japan.” and these young lions raise their hands (practically bouncing up and down in their seats!) And say, “Here am I! Send me, send me! I’ll go! I’ll go!” Also notice that being a poet, Isaiah tries to pack all he can into a phrase. In this verse we are reminded of several things... When these young people answer the Lord’s call, whose words are they echoing? Not just Isaiah’s own words, but Jesus Christ’s own words from our pre-mortal existence... “Here am I; send me!” They are also imitating the very Atonement itself when they say “Here am I; send me!”

Vs. 9 “You’re going to go out with your message, but most won’t see it, most won’t hear it. You will try to teach them about the scriptures and about the prophets, but they won’t see or hear it. It will be discouraging.”

Vs. 10 God is not making a command here in this verse. He’s so certain most of the people won’t listen to His message that He is just making a statement here. “I’d like to convert them, but most won’t listen.”

Vs. 11 Isaiah asks the Lord, “How long shall I teach them?” to which the Lord replies that he must teach until cities be wasted without inhabitant, etc... “Cities wasted without inhabitants?” What would cause such a condition? War! The Lord says, “Just keep on teaching right up until the end!” In Isaiah’s day, “the end” meant right up until Assyrians take the ten tribes. In our own day, that means we must teach right up until Armegeddon!

Vs. 12 Very few will be left on the land after the scattering, and there will be very few righteous.

Vs. 13 This verse ends with hope. A teil tree is a juniper tree. The image in this verse is such that you can cut the tree down, but out of the stump and roots will grow little branches. There will be a little bit of life left in Israel, and that life will return to God one day.

What did you learn today?


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