Friday, I was able to read a few verses in 2 Nephi 25, but it is so long! Especially for the lack of time I had for the day. I decided to finish and blog about it on Saturday. (Not many people are following with me, so I was pretty sure no one would notice. Excuses, Excuses.) But Saturday rolled around and I was too tired and too busy and didn’t do it. No wonder it was a bad day.
I’ve been preaching to my seminary kids that if they put God first they will be given what they need to get through what the have for the day. When the going got tough, I failed the test. Time to repent!
So today I comment on 2 Nephi 25.
Finally! A chapter with language we can all understand!
2 Nephi 25:1-8 ~ I am beginning to think that the Book of Mormon is basically a book of speeches, Conference talks, if you will. I love these speeches! They explain everything! I wrap my mind around what is being read by writing brief statements at the top of the chapter, reminding myself where the speech-giver is going with his thoughts. Each time I come to a speech I say, “Where is he trying to go with this? What is he trying to teach me?” When I discover what it is he is trying to teach me, I write it down somewhere close by in my scriptures. I’m sure many people would look at my scriptures and wonder, “how can she read that?” My scriptures look more like my college text books with notes and quotes inserted on every page and sometimes on every verse.
Anyway, I think this chapter should be titled, “THE JEWS WILL REJECT JESUS CHRIST AND GO INTO APOSTASY.” … and sadly, so do many others.
I was struck by the comment in vs. 1, “Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand (you think?); for they know not concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews.” There is one key to understanding Isaiah. We need to study, not only the words of Isaiah, but the history and the customs of the people he taught. I understand so much more when I get out the maps and the history books, and sometime, the English poetry books. We NEED to KNOW. The truth is, Nephi (and Moroni) put these chapters in the book/abridgement for the future, for us! Then vs. 2 reminds me that there are something we just don’t need to know too. I think that is where the spirit is helpful in my study… to discover the need to know vs. that don’t need to know.
So, what do we need to know? The judgments of God (vs. 3); you can understand through the Spirit (vs. 4); God explains things in a plain and simple manner (vs. 4); and Isaiah’s words are of great worth, particularly to those who will read them in the last days (vs. 8). We are also promised that we will UNDERSTAND them, if we search them.
2 Nephi 25:9-10 ~ The term “Jews” usually has a larger meaning. It usually means the entire house of Israel. Even in the Doctrine & Covenants the Lamanites are called Jews. (And out of all the other ten tribes, the Jews will be the last to be destroyed because they are more righteous than the other tribes.) This passage says that before any of them were destroyed (broken, shattered, scattered), they were always warned. That will always be the case... they will get many warnings before destruction comes upon them, for the Lord wants to give them plenty of chances to repent. Isn’t it comforting that if shattering happens, the Master can gather and REPAIR the damage!?
2 Nephi 25:12 ~ When He finally comes in the flesh, they will reject Him because of their stiff-neckedness. This is the central theme of this chapter.
2 Nephi 25:14-15 ~Following his crucifixion and resurrection from the dead, what happens to Jerusalem as a nation? It is destroyed and its inhabitants are either destroyed (by the Romans) or scattered. Eventually Babylon ...a major nation... will be destroyed, too.
2 Nephi 25:16 ~ This sums up the basic history of the Jews from that time forward. There is a long, sad history of Jewish persecution; the latest of which is the Holocaust. Most of chapter 25 deals with the scattering of the Jews and their rejection of Jesus Christ. There is an end to all this sadness. It comes when they believe in Jesus Christ and in the atonement.
2 Nephi 25:17 ~ But don’t despair, for there is hope! There will be a restoration! (And you and I are a part of it!)
2 Nephi 25:18 ~ The Book of Mormon will finally help the Jewish people understand who their Messiah really is! It helps ALL of us understand. How well do we know the words of the Book of Mormon? I’d better keep working on them.
2 Nephi 25:19-22 ~ Jesus Christ is the ONLY way.
2 Nephi 25:23 ~ Nephi doesn’t want his people to reject Jesus Christ. My neither! I am desperate to persuade everyone I love to see Christ and His plan for who and what it really is! My heart aches at the blindness and darkness we all live in. So I write, as did Nephi. He is just better at it than I am.
Also regarding v23... We read, “... for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” Sometimes we read this to mean, “If we do all we can then Jesus Christ’s grace will do the rest. He’ll make up the difference.” It means that no matter what we do and no matter how righteous we are, even if we do all that is asked of us, we ALL will still need the grace of Jesus Christ to get us Home.... Even the prophet needs the grace of the Savior. Our hope lies in His willingness to grant it. Still, I “DO” because it is the only way I can express my thanks for His profound love an goodness and because He asks me too.
2 Nephi 25:24-25 ~Nephi says, “Even though we have the grace of Jesus Christ, our responsibility as parents is to teach our children the law of Moses, and keep that law ourselves, and look forward to the time the law is fulfilled.” Remember the story found in the gospels of Jesus healing a person on the Sabbath, yet He was condemned by many for doing so on that holy day. They were tying themselves too tightly to the law of Moses, and their hearts were hardened to Him and His teachings. Nephi draws from lessons of the past to try to prevent repetition of these types of problems. He’d say, “Don’t make their mistake!” commandments are given to us to help us continually LOOK toward Christ.
2 Nephi 25:26-27 ~ I LOVE these scriptures! All of Nephi’s focus is on how we should raise our children and influence our descendants. In our homes it is good to talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, preach of Christ, prophesy of Christ, and write these things down. Occasionally we should evaluate things and make sure our children realize that the gospel should be bringing them JOY! Sometimes in our teachings we end up making the Savior’s gospel something that doesn’t make them happy... something that gets in the way of their happiness. But the gospel should make them (and us!) happy, for it is good tidings ...wonderful news! Eventually Christianity became dark, hard thing, and it did not seem to bring people happiness. (In chapter 26 we see Nephi trying to turn this idea around so that children won’t reject Jesus Christ.) Sometimes children go inactive, and even leave the Church, I hope it’s not because I have failed to talk, rejoice, write, preach of Jesus Christ!
2 Nephi 25:28-30 ~ Then Nephi bears testimony. In the later part of this chapter, he seems to suggest that there is a perfect balance of grace and works, and that we must do all we can and then Jesus Christ’s grace is sufficient.
So that is what I learned. What did you learn?