Tag Archives: 2 Nephi

2 Nephi 9:3 — Rejoice now, because later generations are redeemed?


We had a nice study group last Friday on 2 Nephi 9:3. My interest was on the Abrahamic Covenant, which was mentioned in verse 1. The verse didn’t seem odd to me because a lot of Nephi’s writings or compilations have to do with this same theme: our future posterity will be redeemed because of the Abrahamic Covenant. In fact the very title page talks about how the Book of Mormon lets the future Lamanites know that they are not cut off forever because of the covenants of the Lord. So even Mormon and Moroni are thinking about this.

But, most of the discussion revolved around the question: can you make someone feel better now by telling them that something good will happen in the future?  They were relating it to ways we try to comfort people by telling them their problems will all be fixed in the resurrection. Does that work? they asked. (They general consensus was no, it doesn’t.)

In the end, I kinda liked some combination of our discussion and the focus on the Abrahamic Covenant. What if we read verses 1-3 as saying something like this:

In the future, your family (your very descendants) will be redeemed and enjoy the blessings Isaiah describes of Zion and prosperity. In addition, remember that God has spoken through his prophets from the beginning of the world, and most especially to the house of Israel. Thus, you find yourselves in the middle of a story. God has spoken comfort to your family before, in generations past, by establishing covenants. And you have the promise now that your future family will be redeemed because of those same covenants. Therefore you, right now, are still covenant Israel. You have left Jerusalem but you are still a holy people. We have been divided into Lamanites and Nephites, but we are still a covenant family. Take the future redemption as a sign that you are still a holy people, right now. And live in light of that fact. That huge cool experience in the future won’t happen to you, true, but take it as a sign that God is watching over you now. And let that cause you to rejoice!

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A few leads on seeing the Abrahamic Covenant in 2 Nephi


It’s fun to look at scriptures.lds.org page for 2 Nephi, with all of the headings (original and added) all in a row. It gives a sense of what the message of the book is and how the different parts build on each other.

For example, if Nephi is concerned with making the Abrahamic Covenant known to his descendants, and he does this by quoting Isaiah, then it’s helpful to see, even at a glance, what themes and topics Isaiah talks about.

I get the idea that a gathering and a restoring of Israel is primary here. But how is that accomplished? That’s the sort of question I have in mind. (That I’m only starting to think about.)

On a related note, it was helpful to see the sermon of Jacob summarized chapter by chapter. He reads Isaiah, then talks about atonement/resurrection, and then back to the Jews relationship to Christ and the fulfillment of the Covenant. Why detour to the atonement in chapter 9? Or rather, I should probably realize it’s not a detour at all and crucial to his conversation about the Abrahamic Covenant.

Again, just leads in my short study time this morning, but at it’s fun to even see a few leads.


Why the title “2 Nephi”?


I know I’m not the only person to wonder about the break in Nephi’s record, but still. It’s on my brain again so I’m going to make a short post about it.

Questions:

1) Why break your own record into two halves?

2) Why break it in the middle of an event?

3) If you were commanded to write a “more sacred part,” why not break the two records right when that part starts?

4) Does the break in the record symbolize the break between the Nephites and the Lamanites? If so, I still wonder why it’s broken right there?

5) The biggie for me: In Jacob chapter 1, we learn that the kings after Nephi were also called Nephi, no matter what their real name actually was. But there’s more than that, they were called “second Nephi” and “third Nephi” etc. Is it just a coincidence that we call the second half of Nephi’s writings “Second Nephi?” And what about having a book called “Third Nephi?” I guess it’s just coincidence, but it seems so odd that Nephi’s record would be called that and then immediately following Nephi there is a man, now going to be called Second Nephi, who will be keeping his own record on the large plates, and will probably be writing that record with the big title of “Second Nephi” introducing his part of the record. ??? Would this have been confusing for Mormon when he was gathering the records? It would almost appear that our 2 Nephi was written by the second king!

Why does Nephi make a break at all, and why call it 2 Nephi? (2nd book of Nephi, I know, that’s not weird) but still…


Remembering the seed (Abraham and Nephi’s Covenant)


I have loved going through 2 Nephi with Jonah. He’s getting older and we’re able to talk about more things. Well, really, he can sit still, and he listens well, so I can pay much more attention to what we are reading instead of whether he’s singing, sitting upside down, playing with cars, and so on. 🙂 Scripture study with kids has really helped my understanding of the Book of Mormon as a whole, because I’m constantly trying to make the story flow for the kids.

So today we read 2 Nephi 29. The covenant to Abraham and also to Lehi/Nephi is so clear:

2 And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed

14 I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever.

So clear! God covenanted with Abraham (and later with Lehi and Nephi) to remember their seed forever. This means He will never give up on them; He will never let them be “utterly destroyed,” but will always keep trying to teach them. If they are wicked wicked wicked, then He will stop protecting and helping them and so their enemies may win the wars – BUT – He will even then preserve a part of them. Isaiah calls this “the remnant.” Nephi sees his people as a part of a fulfilling of that: “…our seed, which is a remnant of the house of Israel” (2 Nephi 28:2).

Now, there might be various ways in which God “remembers” Abraham’s seed, and also various purposes in remembering his seed. So there’s more to talk about. But, that is what the covenant is – a remembering of Abraham’s family.

(And this is why Isaiah is so important to Nephi. Isaiah explains over and over again that God will remember Abraham’s seed, of which the Nephites are a part. See 2 Nephi 6:5 – “And there are many things which have been spoken by Isaiah which may be likened unto you, because ye are of the house of Israel.”)


Nephi & Likening


I just revisited the book Reading Nephi Reading Isaiah. As I skimmed through the introduction, this caught my eye so I thought I’d share it:

First, it should be noted that likening a text is, for Nephi, a question
of weaving into the scriptural text not the banalities of everyday life
(an application of the scriptures to everyday life), but rather truths one
has learned regarding the meaning and importance of the Abrahamic
covenant through some kind of revelatory or prophetic experience. It
might thus be said that it is only a prophet—though that word must
be taken in its broadest definition as referring to anyone who has
“the spirit of prophecy” (see 2 Nephi 25:4)—who can authoritatively
give new life to a scriptural text. (This first caveat is not meant to
discourage the work of likening, but to encourage recognition that
likening seems, for Nephi, only to be likening when it is undertaken
with the spirit of prophecy.)


Nephi gives his own Prophecy (2 Nephi 25-30)


For my own sake I wanted to have a place where Nephi’s Prophecy appeared in one whole chunk, so I’ve just copied and pasted these chapters here with a little bit of notes. I plan to go back someday and footnote allusions to Isaiah (probably with the help of Grant Hardy’s books, Reading Nephi Reading Isaiah — especially Appendix 2, starting on page 141, and other books & commentaries.)

Continue reading


Zion? Isaiah? Nephi?


So, what exactly is going on with Nephi’s Isaiah? I probably ought to, oh you know, read the whole book called “Reading Nephi Reading Isaiah” that Joe helped edit?? But, that said, I’m going to use this post to think through some questions and ideas I’ve had over the last few days.

So I love it, absolutely love it, that Nephi gives his own prophecy in the chapters following the Isaiah portion that reframe what Isaiah has just said. How rare is it to hear that mentioned in Sunday School?! He plainly explains he is going to do that, and he does it well. He’s had this vision of the future, he quotes lots of Isaiah where Isaiah himself prophesies and explains God’s workings, and then he tells us again about his vision. I think he can’t helped but be seen as trying to show that his vision of the future fits into what Isaiah has already talked about. But, if we’re not really clear on Isaiah, like his people weren’t, then at least read Nephi’s prophecy that follows. For some reason we read chapter 25 as a list of ways to understand Isaiah, instead of seeing Nephi as saying he already does, so let’s listen to him explain it.

I would assume that all of the elements of Nephi’s prophecy have corresponding elements in the Isaiah chapters. Maybe I’ll make that a study next. What a great article that would be! Hmm.

What really surprised me was that the end of chapter 24 seems to leave the covenant people in shambles, or at least the covenant land, but then the messengers run back the message that God has established Zion. And then that’s where Nephi stops quoting Isaiah. I knew already that Nephi talked about Zion, and it always almost seemed out of place b/c the term “Zion” isn’t used much in the Book of Mormon. But then I realized that Nephi might very well be referring to Isaiah, and also his own vision that his people will live in peace for three generations. Rather than abstracting his talk on “Zion” and pairing it with Jackson County or some future Zion or my own ideas of Zion-like living (thought I think we can do all of that too), why not leave it in the context of Nephi?

That’s what got me started on this potential project (we’ll see if I actually follow through!).