Monday, January 23, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 2 Nephi 21

Chapter 21 is a continuation of chapter 20.

Vs. 1 Jesse, of course, is King David's father, and one interpretation of the Branch is our Savior. As a Light will come out of the darkness, so shall a Branch come out of a stump.

Vs. 2-3 ~ Remember, "fear" in v2 means reverence for God.

Also in vs. 2 This Spirit shall make Jesus of quick understanding. When He looks on us, He won't judge by appearances or chasten us based on hearsay. And He will make His judgments QUICKLY! If you think about the government of the United States... it takes them FOREVER to decide something. It won't be so with the King of Kings, the Mighty Judge of all the earth! If all I thought about when making decision was, "Is it right or is it wrong?" how fast could I make most decisions? Quite quickly. So it is for Jesus Christ ... He will make His decisions quickly and with lively understanding.

Vs. 4 This King will insist up equity, honesty, and truth. He will be concerned about the weak and poor of the earth. His will be the rod of truth... the scriptures!

Vs. 5 Anciently the great kings would gird their loins with their swords. But the Lord will do things differently than any other. He will hold the rod to keep us on the strait and narrow path.

Vs. 6-8 As is the case with most of Isaiah's writings, this prophesy must be taken both literally and figuratively. We will miss much of the power behind these verses if we only read them literally, so let's examine them closer...

You'll remember that Daniel sees in vision the rising of great empires. He sees an idol with a lion head of gold (representing Babylon); the silver shoulders of a bear (Persia); the stomach of a leopard made from brass (Greece). These are all SYMBOLIC, and Isaiah wishes us to read the vs. not only literally, but also with empires and war in mind. In other words, ALL of those great, conquering nations who've behaved like carnivores, who've been predatory, conquering the weaker and meeker nations by brute force, will now lie down docilely with them. In Christ's kingdom there won't be any nations eating each other up. There won't be any Russias eating up little Lithuanias. All will live in peace! THAT is the beauty in these verses! What will cause them to do this? We find the answer in v9...

Vs 9 The spirit of the gospel will be brought to all the world, and THAT is what will accomplish peace!

Look at vs. 6 a bit closer...

Vs. 6 Who generally are the ones who lead? The Caesars, the Alexander the Greats, and all the great, powerful leaders of the world who ride around on great white horses and carrying banners! But in Christ's kingdom the greatest shall be the little child.

Vs. 7 Regarding "their young ones shall lie down together"... Why do we continue to have problems in the Middle East and all over the world? What is the problem? It is the same problem which occurs in nation after nation after nation... the children are taught to pass on the traditions of their fathers... the traditions of hatred and mistrust.

But the children of Christ's kingdom will lie down together. The children of Jews and the children of Palestine will lie down together, etc. There will be peace… not hatred. How nice!

Vs. 8 An asp is a tiny, poisonous snake. A cockatrice is also a small poisonous snake. They don't work by force to get their victims. What are snakes known for? We think of them as being subtle, sly, cunning, and crafty. And what are little children known for? They are known for their innocent, trusting nature. If I took a three-year-old child to the hole of a rattlesnake and said, "Look at the cute little animal! Listen to that rattle! Go get it!" ... would that little one go get it? Of course! He/She is completely innocent and trusting. And in Christ's kingdom, the clever and deceitful will stop preying on those who are trusting and innocent. The Leader who can change our present world into that form ... and without a sword! ... is certainly worthy of the titles "Wonderful!" and "Counselor!" "Mighty God!" and "Prince of Peace!"

Vs. 10 Christ is the ultimate sign of peace. His church is the ensign spoken of here. It will be an ensign of Jesus Christ. We gather together in HIS name and in no other. And the ensign is not only for the house of Israel, but for all Gentiles as well.

Vs. 11 The idea here is that all will be brought back together to the Lord's standard. The idea behind "islands of the sea" is this: If we were to look at a map of the Pacific, most of us wouldn't be able to find the islands of Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Marcaess, etc. They are so small! But the Lord is saying here, "There is no spot on My earth where I can't find My people! Even if you're on that smallest island of the earth, I will find you and will bring you back!"

Vs. 12 Literally the house of Judah is being gathered.

The last three verses of chapter 21 are alluding to stories in the ancient world.

Vs. 14 This is suggesting that there will be no enemies. No one will stop you from gathering.

Vs. 15 As Isaiah speaks in behalf of the Lord, he is alluding to the Lord splitting the river Euphrates if need be, to get His people gathered. "I got the children of Israel out of Egypt by splitting the Red Sea, and I'll get YOU out from where YOU are, even if I have to split the Euphrates to do it!"

Vs. 16 This is alluding to the BEAUTIFUL prophecy Isaiah made in chapter 19 of how ALL of God's people (yes, even those in the Middle East!) will be one! What a great day of peace and gathering that will be! And how will we respond in that day? Chapter 22 tells us the answer to that...

We will look at that tomorrow.

What did you learn?

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