Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Wizard or The Word: Option B (2 Nephi 18)

A fool such as I could never pretend that I understand the book of Isaiah.  Some stuff is clearer than others, but it's them others that present an insurmountable obstacle (emphasis on 'stack') to me in my goal of writing a blog post about every chapter in the BOM.  I could buy me some books, or research some online helps for Isaiah, and pass on my findings to you, but that's not been my method.  These is my thoughts and reflections.

I'm on 2 Nephi 18 (see Isaiah 8) today.  In reading through this chapter, I find that I could tell you everything I get out of it in about 1 short, boring paragraph.  I have 2 verses highlighted, verse 2 and 3, and one phrase in the preamble highlighted: "peeping wizards".

The Richmond district in Beattyville, KY (circa 1987). That's me out front.

Although I have bought a couple or 3 new B's OM since my missionary days, I always highlight "peeping wizards" because of memories from goofing around and laughing during what should have been serious BOM study time with my companions.

Anyways, let's write a couple things...

2 Nephi 18: 2-3
2.  And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.

3.  And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived and bare a son.  Then said the Lord to me: Call his name, Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
These verses are kinda weird.  Does this mean that Isaiah took witnesses with him when he went to "see" the prophetess?  And who's the prophetess?  Is that his wife?  Like I says, I ain't no professor of ancient scripture, so I don't know.  My guess is, the prophetess is his wife, and the 2 witnesses came to witness the naming of the child.  I don't know much, but I know I love you..., er, I believe that it's a Jewish thing to have witnesses present at the circumcision and naming of a child. Anywayz, that's my opinion.

"Maher-shalal-hash-baz" means: Destruction is imminent.  Either Isaiah suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (I've heard that the acronym is not the commonly known OCD, but rather CDO, so that the letters can be in alphabetical order, as they should be) or the Scattering and Gathering of Israel is an important subject.  I'm gonna go with option B. 

2 Nephi 18: 18
18.  Behold, I and the children whom The Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from The Lord of Hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion.

"I'd like you to meet my sons.  This is Destruction is Imminent, and this is A Remnant Shall Return."
I wonder if it used to frighten Destruction is Imminent when he was a child, until he learned that this was a prophecy for the house of Israel, and not a warning for when his Dad got home from work.

Need Answers?

If you need a message from heaven to give you knowledge or comfort or whatever, there are lots of suggestions in the world.  You can, Option A: Read the stars, the tea leaves, your palm, tarot cards, your horoscope, or even your Crazy 8 Ball.  Or Option B: You can pray, read your scriptures, live your life so that the Spirit of The Lord is with you, go to the Temple, listen to The Prophet, or anything that is lovely or of good report or praiseworthy.  I would choose option B myself.

If your choice is to seek answers from a 
Peeping Wizard, like Zoltar here....

That's a Big mistake...

2 Nephi 18: 16, 19-20
16.  Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.

19.  And when they shall say unto you:  Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutter -should not a people seek unto their God for the living to hear from the dead?

20.  To the law and to the testimony; and if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Bind up the testimony (Have faith in Jesus Christ)
Seal the law (Obey the commandments)
Seek unto God (Come unto Christ)

Option A: Wizards that peep and mutter.
To the law and to the testimony
If not, there is no light in them

Option B: The Word of God
Go with option B.

Peace be with you

Friday, October 19, 2012

A plague of briars, a promise of thorns (2 Nephi 17)

To me, 2 Nephi 17 (compare Isaiah: 7) is one of the more difficult of the Isaiah chapters.  There is a great and wonderful verse about The Savior in it, but the rest talks about cows and sheeps and arrows and prophecies of the affliction of Israel by way of thorns and briars and wars and stuff.

In the map up there, you can see where Syria and Ephraim are located.  Judah down to the south didn't like the idea of Syria being confederate (or allies) with Ephraim.  That's cool and everything, but I'm just going to write about 3 things out of this chapter:

  1. The Lord shaves with a razor
  2. Shearjashub
  3. Mary Christmas
2 Nephi 17: 20
20.  In the same day shall The Lord shave with a razor that is hired.
I used to stop reading there and giggle a little bit.  As a younger dude, I thought The Lord shaving presented a funny image, but really was figurative of some different meaning that I couldn't guess.  Later on I finished the verse.  You should always finish reading the instructions before you start your bird house.  Can't tell you how many times I've put a bookshelf together backwards twice before reading the instructions.
20.  ...hired, by them beyond the river, by the king Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard.
Ahhh, so that's what Isaiah means, or what I think he means:  The Lord will shave the head and beards of the men of Judah, and do it through the alliance of Ephraim and Syria (or Assyria) coming to battle against them.  I think that means that the people of Judah are going to forget their covenants.  It's all part of the scattering thing.  What do you think?  


2 Nephi 17: 3
3.  Then said The Lord unto Isaiah:  Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool of the highway of the fuller's field.
That's quite a name you got there, dude.  I pronounce Shearjashub like it's spelt, but I'm sure I'm butchering it.  Anyways, Sheer-jay-shub translates as "A remnant shall return".  This is one of Isaiah's two major themes:  The scattering and gathering of Israel and the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

They probably called him Shub for short.  I don't know what they called Shub's brother, Maher-shalal-hash-baz.


 2 Nephi 17: 14
14.  Therefore, The Lord Himself shall give you a sign -Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Over 700 years before the birth of our Savior, Isaiah prophesied of Christ's miraculous birth, His life full of miracles, the malicious treatment he would receive at the hands of those He came to save, and His loving sacrifice for all mankind. 

Christ With Thorns, by Carl Bloch

Isaiah's references to the coming of the Son of God are scattered throughout his writings, even in places where it is not clear what Isaiah's talking about.  My favorite Isaiah chapter on the Atonement of Jesus Christ is Isaiah 53, but we'll talk about that in 3 1/2 more years when I get to Mosiah 14.

O Come, O Come Immanuel

Merry Christmas.

Peace be with you