2 Nephi 17-24 2 Nephi 17:20 Why would the Assyrians “shave with a razor” their captives? “The Assyrians cut off all the hair from the captives for three reasons: humiliation, sanitation.. and separation (if any slaves escaped … they could not blend in with other peoples)” (Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet, 145). 2 Nephi 17:16-24 It seems to be a prophecy against the kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) declaring that the confederacy between Ephraim and Syria would be broken: “The land that thou abhorrest (the northern kingdom of Israel) shall be forsaken of both her kings (Ephraim’s and Syria’s)” (v. 16):” with arrows and with bows shall men come thither” (v. 24). This prophecy was fulfilled when Assyria overran the land in 721 B.C. . When Isaiah prophesied, there were two kingdoms of Israelites --- the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel (also called Ephraim). A third country, Syria, was sometimes an enemy and sometimes an ally with either or both Israel and Judah (Bible Dictionary, “Chronology: Kings of Judah and Israel.” (637-39). These countries were referred to by the following: Southern Kingdom of Judah Northern Kingdom of Israel Judah Benjamin Ephraim Reuben Simeon Levi Dan Naphtali Gad Asher Issachar Zebulon Joseph 2 Nephi 17:8 “Ephraim Be Broken” The northern kingdom of Israel was captured by Assyria in 722 B.C., and many of the inhabitants (known today as the lost tribes of Israel) were carried away. Captives from other lands were relocated in the area and eventually intermarried with the remaining Israelites and became known as the Samaritans. “Ephraim be broken” happened as prophesied; within the span of 65 years, Ephraim was no more. 2 Nephi 18:6-8 What were “the water of Shiloah” and “the waters of the river?” “The waters of Shiloah” refer to a pool in the southern part of Jerusalem that anciently was the city’s main water source. These waters “also represent the continuous tender care that the Lord provided for his people as he sought to lead them with gentle promptings of the Spirit. The Judean leaders rejected the Lord’s advice offered through Isaiah, who foretold how the raging flood-waters of the Euphrates River would replace the waters of Shiloah. Instead of gentle waters around their knees, the raging torrent of the Assyrian army would gather around their necks” (Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet, 145). 2 Nephi 18:1-12, 18 Symbolic Names Isaiah was the father of two sons, Maher-shalal-hash-baz and Shear-jashub. Both names are symbolic of the Lord’s intentions for the northern kingdom of Israel. Maher-shalal-hash-baz is a Hebrew term meaning “to speed to the spoil, he hasteneth to prey. This name describes the events spoken of in verse four. The ten tribes were overrun and despoiled by the Assyrians when Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, was besieged. Shear-jashub is a Hebrew term meaning “the remnant shall return.” This is a reference to the day when Israel will be gathered from her scattered condition. Thus Isaiah could report: “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of Hosts” (v. 18). 2 Nephi 18:15-22 A Sanctuary or a “Stone of Stumbling” It is messianic in nature. Because of their rejection of the Messiah, Isaiah prophesied that the Jewish nation would inherit “trouble, and darkness, dimness of anguish.” 2 Nephi 19:1 Where is the land of Zebulun and Naphtali? “Zebulun and Naphtali…formed the northern border of Israel…(It) was the first area captured by the Assyrians in the time of Isaiah (2 Kings 15:29)” (Monte S. Nyman, Great Are the Words of Isaiah, 67). 2 Nephi 19:4 What is the meaning of the “yoke,” the “staff,” and the “rod?” “These three items---the yoke, staff, and rod --- signify forms of oppression” (Donald W. Parry, Jay A. Parry, and Tina Peterson, Understanding Isaiah, 95). 2 Nephi 19:5 “This shall be with burning and fuel fire” During the Millennium “the material and equipment needed for war will be destroyed” (Sidney B Sperry, Book of Mormon Compendium, 207 2 Nephi 19:1-7 Titles of the Messiah The titles given to the Messiah in verse six signify his service to mankind. He is the wonder of the ages and a counselor in the ways of eternal life (Jacob 4:10). He who was born in a lowly manger is Jehovah, the “Mighty God” (2 Nephi 19:6) of Israel come to earth. Those who have faith in Christ and covenant with the Lord in the waters of baptism become his children and he becomes their “Everlasting Father.” When the Messiah was born, the angels sang “peace, good will toward men” because the “Prince of Peace” even “the founder of peace” had come to earth. His government and peace will last forever. 2 Nephi 19:6 Over “30” names in the scriptures for the Savior. 2 Nephi 19:12 God is nice! The Lord is available, if they will return to him. His hand is stretched out. 2 Nephi 20:1-19 Boasting Against the Lord The Lord said that Israel’s wickedness would cause him to send Assyria, “the rod of (his) anger,” against the people “to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.” This prophecy was literally fulfilled when Assyria captured the northern kingdom of Israel and took the people captive to Assyria. This prophecy further revealed that when Assyria became lifted up in pride the Lord would “punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.” the Lord made it clear that even though Assyria accomplished his purposes against Israel, they had no reason to be proud. As the ax cannot boast of itself against the one who uses it, so the Assyrians could not think of themselves as being higher than the Lord. Assyria was but an instrument in the hand of the Lord in fulfilling his purposes. 2 Nephi 20:20-34 Return and “Overflow with Righteousness” When “the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob” have learned to trust the Lord rather than man, they “shall return” and “overflow with righteousness.” The Lord urged his people to “be not afraid of the Assyrian” for the captivity would not last forever, “for yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease.” At that time the Lord would remove the Assyrian burden from the shoulders of Israel, and the “the high ones of stature shall be hewn down; and the haughty shall be humbled.” We live in the days of the fulfillment of this prophecy. Faithful Latter-day Saints are part of that remnant of Jacob who are trusting in the Lord and starting to overflow with righteousness. We should have cause to ponder when we realize that we are part of the fulfillment of a prophecy uttered seven hundred years before Christ --- over twenty-six hundred years ago! 2 Nephi 21 This chapter is quoted in it’s entirety to Joseph Smith by Moroni. 2 Nephi 21:6-9 “Millennial Conditions” D&C 101:26-32 “Five Conditions” 1. Enmity of all flesh will cease before my face. When will “the wolf …. dwell with the lamb, and the leopard.. lie down with the kid?” “Men must become harmless before the brute creation, and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together” (Teachings, 71). 2. Whatsoever any man shall ask, it shall be given unto him. “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.” All things…will be revealed anew, in order to fulfill that passage… Things of all former dispensations will be made manifest and revealed anew” (Orson Pratt, JD, 16:47). 3. No sorrow because there is no death, twinkling at the age of a tree (Isaiah 65:20-22, age 100). 4. Satan shall have no power to tempt any man. 5. Reveal all things: D&C 84:98-102 “the Millennial Song.” 2 Nephi 21:10,12 “Ensign” To gather, a gathering place, a banner! th (April 6 , 1830) 2 Nephi 21:14 “The Shoulders of the Philistines” “Seven hundred years before the birth of the Savior, the Prophet Isaiah, looking down the vista of time, saw the Latter-day gathering of the scattered House of Israel, and said concerning them: ‘They shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the West.’ We recognize the fulfillment of the prophecy in the founding of this Church by Joseph Smith, a lineal descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who thus lifted the Ensign for the gathering of their descendants from their long dispersion among the nations. But a part of the fulfillment rests with the Gentiles. Their steamships, their railroads, their means of rapid transit and communication --- these are ‘the shoulders of the Philistines,’ upon which the children of Ephraim have been and are being brought to the West, to the land of Zion, where the New Jerusalem is to rise, where the pure in heart will assemble, and the necessary preparation be made for the coming of the Lord in his glory. God works outside as well as inside his Church, and use big things and little things for the accomplishment of his purposes” (Orson F. Whitney, C.R., Oct. 1919, 69). 2 Nephi 21:14-15 United Israel and Judah “shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab” and Egypt. These verses have a double meaning. In addition to latter-day Israel having physical power over their enemies, some of these countries and cities often carry a symbolic meaning. Assyria Moab Egypt abundance Damascus men Jerusalem Babylon Edom = = = World’s power World’s pride World’s glory and = World’s gods, idols of = = = Worldly or false piety World wickedness Fallen world The added symbolic meaning teaches that Israel and Judah in the last days will conquer or overcome worldly pride (Moab), fallen nature (Edom), and worldly glories and riches (Egypt). 2 Nephi 22:2, 5 (D&C 25:12) 2 Nephi 23:13 When and how has the earth been “removed out of her place?” “When the earth was framed and brought into existence and man was placed upon it, it was near the throne of our Father in heaven…But when man fell, the earth fell into space, and took up its abode in this planetary system, and the sun became our light…When (the earth) is glorified it will return again unto the presence of the Father, and it will dwell there” (Brigham Young, JD, 17:144). 2 Nephi 23:13-22 Judgments Predicted for the Wicked This is Isaiah’s depiction of the great judgments that John the Revelator later saw (Rev. 9, 11, 16-18). There is a dual fulfillment for this prophecy. Babylon became one of the most important glorious cities of the world during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, around 600 B.C. It fell to the Medes and Persians in 539 B.C. and began a long decline. By the time of Christ, Babylon was inhabited only by a few Jews exiled by Roman decree. A hundred years later it was totally desolate and has remained uninhabited to this day. Babylon is also the name for Satan’s kingdom, or the world. It will be destroyed and remain in utter desolation during the Millennium. 2 Nephi 23:17-22 Who were the Medes and what happened to Babylon? The Medes came from Persia and conquered the city of Babylon “by means of strategy. After a long siege, apparently without effect, Cyrus, who led the besieging Medes and Persians, decided to turn the Euphrates out of its course and enter on the dry river bed. That was a gigantic undertaking. The river was 1,500 feed wide and twelve feet deep. However, the undertaking was successful. The invaders entered (under the city walls) from two sides, the former inflow and outflow of the river, and so quietly did they take possession that most of the people did not know what was happening till it was too late to make resistance. Aristotle had been informed that some of the inhabitants did not know until three days afterwards that the city had fallen” (George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl, 2 Nephi 24:1-3 When will “Israel…return to their lands?” There are at least three times when this prophecy could be fulfilled. First, when Cyrus the Great of Persia issued an order allowing the Jews to return from Babylon in about 588 B.C. Second, the modernday return of the Jews to the Holy Land. And third, at “the second coming of Christ, when the Jews will accept him as their Savior” (Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet, 186). 2 Nephi 24:1-12 Israel’s Millennial Rest The day will come when “the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel.” The Lord will gather his people “from far unto the ends of the earth; and they shall return to their land of promise.” Then “they shall rule over their (former) oppressors” and shall be given “rest, from (their) sorrow, and from (their) fear, and from the hard bondage” of their scattered years. Verses 4 through 12 can be interpreted as taunting words against both Lucifer and Israel’s former oppressors, whose pomp “is brought down to the grave.” 2 Nephi 24:12-16 The only place in the Bible and the Book of Mormon where the title Lucifer is used are Isaiah 14:12 and 2 Nephi 24:12. In Doctrine and Covenants 76:25-28 we learn that Lucifer (which means “light bearer”) was the pre-mortal name of Satan. Because of his rebellion against God he fell from his position of “authority in the presence of God” and “was called Perdition” which means “destruction.” What did Lucifer think he could do? “The enemy was not satisfied, nor had he quit the field, but by new methods he would seek to destroy this work….He is vain enough to think, and he believes it confidently, that in the end he will be victorious and become king of this world” (Melvin J. Ballard, New Era, March 1984, 35). 2 Nephi 24:18-32 Triumph over Babylon In the latter days, just as Lucifer fell from heaven to the earth, the wicked nations who have afflicted the Lord’s people will be brought down and “never be renowned.” The Lord will establish Zion, “and the poor of his people shall trust in it.” We will see a dual fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy; Babylon fell in the days of its kings, and spiritual Babylon, with Satan as its king, will yet fall.