There is way more here than you would probably be able to use in 40 minutes, but maybe you’ll find something useful that can add to your lesson after your preparation from the official manual!
- 2 Nephi 6: Jacob testifies of Christ, quotes many passages from Isaiah 49 (note the footnotes to Isaiah 49 in 2 Nephi 6 verses 6,7, 16, 17, 18).
- 2 Nephi 7 : Compare Isaiah 50
- 2 Nephi 8: Compare Isaiah 51
- 2 Nephi 9: Jacob’s “O’s and Wo’s” chapter
- 2 Nephi 10: Jesus will be crucified, be reconciled to Christ
2 Nephi 6
2 – “his holy order:” Jacob is referring to his priesthood (see D&C 107:2-30
5 – Jacob reminds his people that although they are no longer in Jerusalem, they are still the house of Israel, and still bound by the blessings and burdens of the Abrahamic Covenant.
6 – this is Isa. 49:22
7 – this is Isa. 49:23
8 – Jacob describes the Babylonian captivity
12 – “Gentiles” means nations, and applies to many modern readers of the Book of Mormon
16 – this is Isa 49:24
17 – this is Isa 49:25
18 – this is Isa 49:26
The “Big Picture” of 2 Nephi 6:
The First Coming of Jesus Christ
- Born as a mortal (9)
- Born among the Jews (9)
- Born in the land of Jerusalem (8)
- Jews would harden their hearts againts him (10)
- He would be scourged (9)
- He would be crucified (9)
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
- Jews will gather before the Second Coming (11)
- Second Coming will be in power and glory (14)
- Wicked will be destroyed (14)
- Faithful will not be destroyed (14)
- Fire, tempests, earthquakes, bloodsheds, famine, and pestilence will accompany the Second Coming (15)
- The Lord will deliver his people (17)
- All flesh will know that Jesus is the “Mighty One of Jacob” (18)
2 Nephi 7 (Compare Isaiah 50)
Summary: The Lord asks, “Did I leave you, or did you leave me?” Even though Israel has transgressed, the Lord will still keep his covenant promises. The Messiah will come, but he will be rejected. He will ultimately be delivered and triumph. Those who reject him will be left to walk by the light of their own fires and will be sorrowful.
Here’s an excerpt from Isaiah for Airheads:
2 Nephi 7:1. “Have I put thee away?” The children of Israel are asked several questions and then given the answer. The Lord seems to be saying, “Did I leave you, or did you leave me?” Then he answers, “You left me because of your iniquities and transgressions.” Someone once said, “If you feel further away from God today than you were yesterday, guess who moved?”
2 Nephi 7:2. The lights were on, but no one was home. The Lord wants to remain close to his children. He is constantly seeking a relationship with us. A painting that hung in my home as I was growing up depicted the promise Jesus makes in Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” My father often pointed out, “There is no doorknob in this painting. He wants to come in, but you have to open the door from the inside.”
In D&C 133:66 we read: “In that day when I came unto mine own, no man among you received me, and you were driven out.” In other words, at Jesus’ first coming, he was not generally recognized by covenant Israel as the promised Messiah, and the people suffered as a result.
2 Nephi 7:2. “Is my hand shortened?” This is another way of saying, “Have I lost my power?” Isaiah scholar Victor L. Ludlow has written: Scriptures often refer to the hand and arm of the Lord as symbols of power, so the Lord is essentially asking if the Israelites think His power has diminished. (Unlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, 63)
2 Nephi 7:2–3. “I dry up the sea” Examples of the Lord’s power are given to demonstrate that his hand is not shortened. Footnote 2c leads us to Exodus 14:21, where Moses parted the Red Sea, turning the water into “dry land.” He can also darken the skies, as he did to convince Pharaoh to release the Hebrew slaves (Exodus 10:22—24) and as He will before the Second Coming (see D&C 29:14).
2 Nephi 7:4. “The Lord God hath given me” In other words, the Father has given the servant the tongue of the learned. The synopsis indicates that this servant is Christ.
2 Nephi 7:4. “When ye are weary he waketh” Who’s “ye” and who’s “he”? One interpretation: “When ye (covenant Israel) are weary, he (the Father) waketh morning by morning. He waketh mine ear (the servant’s ear) to hear as the learned.” Another way to look at it is “When ye (covenant Israel) are weary, he (the servant) waketh morning by morning. He (the servant) waketh mine ear (covenant Israel’s ear) to hear as the learned.” Both of these interpretations make sense (see Parry, Understanding Isaiah, 442–43).
2 Nephi 7:5–7. “I gave my back to the smiter” We can visualize events leading up to the crucifixion of the Savior as we read verses 5–7. Isaiah saw these events 750 years before they happened. Through the New Testament accounts do not mention plucking the hair off the cheeks, that doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t happen. To pluck out the hair of a man’s beard was a way of degrading him (see Brewster, Isaiah Plain and Simple, 211).
2 Nephi 7:7. “Set my face like a flint” Flint is a hard stone, often used to generate sparks to start a fire. The word flint is used here to illustrate determination. The Book of Mormon also uses the word flint to characterize the rebellious mind-set of the Lamanites: “For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint” (2 Nephi 5:21).
2 Nephi 7:8–9. “The Lord is near, and he justifieth me” The servant will stand with the Lord (perhaps referring to the Father standing with Christ). It can also mean that Christ will stand with his prophets as they endure persecution. In times of trial, what greater company could you have than the Lord? Footnote 9a refers us to Romans 8:31, which asks, “If God be for us, who can be against us? (Or in the JST, “who can prevail against us?”; emphasis added).
2 Nephi 7:9. Wax and moths. The scriptures often use the word wax to mean “grow” or “increase.” Moths often are used as a symbol of decay or destruction. Jesus taught, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt” (Matthew 6:19).
2 Nephi 7:10–11. “Walk in the light” God is the source of light and truth. To walk in our own light is compared to walking in nothing but sparks, which last only an instant and give off little illumination. Those who refuse the light of the Son and prefer their own light will lie down in sorrow.
2 Nephi 7 is a testimony- building and testimony- affirming chapter. God is dependable. He doesn’t move. The tree of life is not transplanted to different locations to keep us guessing. We know where it is and how to get there. In the New Testament, the Lord’s unchanging position and his eagerness to be involved in our lives is described in these words: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7–8). Isaiah assures modern- day covenant Israel that God is constantly available, constantly willing to keep his promises, and has not lost his power to perform miracles, large or small. Also, just as Jesus was determined to fulfill the Father’s will despite persecution, we should be willing to do the Lord’s will and not seek to do our own or to walk in the dim light that we have created.
2 Nephi 8 (Compare Isaiah 51, 52:1-2)
Summary: Look to your origins – you are Abraham’s seed! The Lord will comfort Zion and bring judgment (justice), righteousness and salvation. Awake, and remember all the things the Lord has done. The redeemed will return to Zion. The cup of God’s wrath will be on Jerusalem, but it will eventually be saved and protected.
Here’s another excerpt from Isaiah for Airheads:
2 Nephi 8:1–2. A chip off the old block. Isaiah is reminding covenant Israel to look to their origins, Abraham and Sarah. The promises made to them for their righteousness are available to us as well, and God always keeps his promises.
2 Nephi 8:3–5. If this describes the millennial day, bring it on! (Important safety tip—repent first.) This is a place I would like to live: wilderness turned to Eden, deserts turned into gardens of the Lord, all filled with sounds of joy, gladness, and thanksgiving. Lawmaking and judicial responsibilities will be taken over by the Savior. Sign me up, and the kids too.
2 Nephi 8:6. “The heavens shall vanish away . . . and the earth shall wax old” As hard as it is to imagine, we will one day have a new heaven and a new earth (see Ether 13:9), but the constant amid this amazing amount of change is the righteousness of God and His saving work.
2 Nephi 8:7. “In whose heart I have written my law” Some hearts are hard and cannot be penetrated. Upon other, softer hearts, the Lord can write his laws. It is one thing to have the law written in books, but quite another to have them written in our souls or, in the words of Paul, “in fleshy tables of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:3).
2 Nephi 8:7–8. “Fear ye not the reproach of men” How many opportunities have we missed, how many comments haven’t we made, how many testimonies have remained unshared, and how many golden questions have remained unasked, because of our fear of men? (I’ve got to stop now; I’m beginning to feel guilty.) What will happen to those who revile covenant Israel and the gospel message? Isaiah answers— Purina Moth and Worm Chow. Moths and worms are signs of corruption and decay, a stark contrast to the constancy of the Lord and the truths of the gospel.
2 Nephi 8:9–10. Rahab and the Dragon. Isaiah speaks in the place of covenant Israel and asks the Lord to “awake” and “put on strength.” Rahab “is a poetic synonym for Egypt (Psalm 87:4). In a more general way, Rahab may be interpreted as a representation of Satan. In any case, the point of the imagery is that the Lord has power over all the elements and all of his enemies” (Book of Mormon Reference Companion, 355).
2 Nephi 8:11. The redeemed return. Notice the words, singing, joy, holiness, gladness. These describe a great event that is happening as missionaries gather covenant Israel (see D&C 101:18–19). Also see footnotes 11a and 11b. They refer to Topical Guide headings “Israel, Restoration of” and “Israel, Gathering of.” How are these things different? The restoration of Israel refers more to their coming to Jesus Christ and recognizing him as the Messiah. Many Jews recognize Jesus as a great teacher or rabbi, but not as the promised Messiah. When they begin to recognize him as the Messiah, that will be the restoration of Israel. For example, Jacob, our guide, says that Isaiah has spoken to the Jews “until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God” (2 Nephi 9:2). The “gathering of Israel” may refer to physical gathering only, returning to their lands, but not necessarily to the spiritual gathering, or restoration to the true Church.
2 Nephi 8:12–13 How could you be afraid of man and forget the Lord? Man is compared to grass, which, in Jesus’ words, “to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven” (Matthew 6:30). Grass springs up after the rain, but doesn’t last long when the heat is on. Terry B. Ball has written: Occasionally an east wind, heated by the desert sands of Arabia, will sweep across the country, withering the vegetation as if in a furnace. In Isaiah this phenomenon is used as a type of the brief existence of mortality (“Isaiah’s Imagery of Plants and Planting,” 26.)
2 Nephi 8:14. “The captive exile hasteneth” Covenant Israel who have been scattered or exiled, “held captive by oppressors, will soon be set free. They will not ‘die in the pit’ (go down to the grave) nor be deprived of food” (Brewster, Isaiah Plain and Simple, 224).
2 Nephi 8:15. “Whose waves roared” What might this refer to? It’s nice to live in the last days when we have very helpful footnotes that show us how the scriptures comment on the scriptures. Footnote 15a takes us to 1 Nephi 4:2: Therefore let us go up; let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, and the armies of Pharaoh did follow and were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea.
2 Nephi 8:17. “Drunken the dregs” Covenant Israel has drunk the bitter judgments of the Lord, right down to the sediments at the bottom of the cup.
2 Nephi 8:18. “None to guide her among all the sons she hath brought forth” In other words, covenant Israel has lost her prophetic leadership because of apostasy (as described in 2 Nephi 7:1–2).
2 Nephi 8:19–20. “Thy sons have fainted, save these two” The following quotation is pretty intense, so brace yourselves: Because Israel has lost the gospel of Jesus Christ and its power to guide, direct, and save, God has sent two priesthood holders to assist and bless them. These two are the same “two witnesses” spoken of in Revelation 11:3. They will testify in Jerusalem for three and a half years, will be killed and left dead in the streets, and then will be resurrected and lifted up to meet Jesus Christ as he returns to make his appearance to the Jews. (Book of Mormon Reference Companion, 356) Elder Bruce R. McConkie has suggested that these two “sons” could be members of the Council of the Twelve or the First Presidency (see Millennial Messiah, 390).
2 Nephi 8:21–22. “Drunken, and not with wine” You have to read these two verses together to understand that covenant Israel has drunken to the dregs of the cup of the Lord’s fury. The last sentence promises “thou shalt no more drink it again.”
2 Nephi 8:23. “Them that afflict thee” Those who have walked all over covenant Israel will now get a taste of the Lord’s fury.
2 Nephi 8:24. “Put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments” This means to put on the authority of the priesthood as one would put on a robe. The interpretation of this verse is given in D&C 113:7–8 (notice footnote 24b). Hoyt W. Brewster has written, “Perhaps this also implies the privilege of receiving sacred clothing in holy places” (Isaiah Plain and Simple, 228).
2 Nephi 8:24. “The uncircumcised and the unclean” Circumcision was a token of the Abrahamic covenant, so Jerusalem is promised that the day will come when those who haven’t made covenants will no longer enter her gates. In other words, after the earth is cleansed, Zion will be free of those who have not made covenants with Christ.
2 Nephi 8:25. “Arise, sit down” This might sound like a contradiction at first, but it isn’t. Dust was a symbol of mourning, thus to arise out of the dust was to get up off the ground and sit down in dignity or in a place of honor, such as on a throne.
Dr. Paul Y. Hoskisson: The people of Israel . . . should stand up out of the dust where they’ve been; [dust] is a sign of mourning, and it’s a sign of degradation. They ought to get out of the dust, out of their reason for mourning, they ought to arise, they ought to come in the house again, because the Lord’s going to accept them, they ought to take a bath and put on some new clothes, and sit down with the Lord, and share a meal with him once more as he did previously, before they deserted him. (Book of Mormon Roundtable Discussions, Episode 10, “Jacob’s Sermon to the Nephites [2 Nephi 6–10],” www.byubroadcasting.org)
2 Nephi 8:25. “Loose thyself from the bands of thy neck” Invaders often took conquered inhabitants of the land as slaves, sometimes by putting bands around their necks. Symbolically, sin is like a band around our necks, as Satan leads us where he wants us to go. The Prophet Joseph Smith wrote that “the bands of her neck are the curses of God upon [covenant Israel]” (D&C 113:10). Verses 24–25 are repeated again in 3 Nephi 20:36–37, and in some of the last words in the Book of Mormon in Moroni 10:31.
We should find joy and hope in the promises that the Lord has made. Sadly, there is often a lack of joy among members of the Church. Many of us seem to prefer guilt and discouragement. We have the knowledge that this fallen earth will be renewed and glorified and the assurance that we need not fear anything that man can do. The Lord has not lost his power, and he will again bring Zion, but he will do it according to his timetable. Part of having faith in Christ is having faith in his timing. In the meantime, we can enjoy a portion of Zion in our lives and by spreading the gospel message throughout the world.
2 Nephi 9: I call this the “O’s and Wo’s” chapter – and here’s some interesting trivia: The highest number of footnotes in the standard works are in this chapter on page 75, tied with page 152 in King Benjamin’s speech (Mosiah 3). Why would that be? Both are about the atonement of Christ. More trivia: guess which book of scripture has no footnotes? Song of Solomon.
Interesting Quotations on 2 Nephi 9:
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: This is a wonderfully explicit sermon … on Christ and his eternal covenant with the human family – Christ and the New Covenant, 69.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: Our most explicit teachings on the atonement of Christ are in 2 Nephi 2 and 9 and Alma 34. – Promised Messiah, 421.
8 – If Jesus did not have the power to save his body, then he did not have the power to save the spirit either. Then all our spirits would be forever tainted by sin, and we would eventually be ruled by Satan.
“O’s” in verses 10,13,17,19, 20
16 – “They who are righteous shall be righteous still” This is often referred to as the “Law of Restoration.” Corianton erroneously thought that he could live wickedly, and be “restored” to righteousness. His father taught him the true definition of “restoration” in Alma 41 (see also Alma 34:34, and Mormon 9:14).
16 – “everlasting fire” is “like” or “as” a lake of fire and brimstone, not a literal lake of fire.
21 – Notice that the Savior will suffer the “pains” of everyone, not just sins. Alma 7:11-12 clarifies that Jesus will take upon him not only our sins, but our pains, sicknesses and infirmities, so that he will know how to “succor” or “run to us” in our time of need.
23 – Notice the first principles of the gospel mentioned in this verse. First things first!
25-26 – Comforting doctrine regarding those who have never heard of Christ in their lifetimes.
27 – For those who have the gospel but neglect it – do not “waste the days of your probation.” Sometimes it’s not that we spend our time on evil things, necessarily, but we “waste” our time on distractions, or less important things.
28-29 – What is the difference between “learned” and “wise?” Could the very best scientists with unlimited resources and time create one tiny mosquito? To be learned is good if…a very big “IF” in verse 29.
30 – Our hearts must be set on Christ rather than our treasures.
31 – Big difference between “cannot hear” and “will not hear.”
32 – Big difference between “cannot see” and “will not see.”
“Wo’s” in verses 28-38
38 – The idea of being unprepared to be restored to God’s presence is often referenced in the Book of Mormon. You might add a footnote to Alma 5:19, Alma 12:14, Alma 48:23.
40-42 – Hugh Nibley once remarked that “none of us are very smart, none of us know very much, but the thing the angels envy us for is that we can forgive, and we can repent.”
48 – Satan desires to hide consequences, and tries to focus us only on short-term choices without regard to the long-term effects. Elder Neal A. Maxwell said “We must want the consequences of what we want!”
51 – Worldly worth is worthless; the last six words of this verse are an unusual diet plan 🙂
2 Nephi 10
10-11 – A land of liberty with no kings – kings often lead to bondage (see Ether 6:22-23, 1 Samuel 8).
16 – Helpful and clarifying definition of the “whore of all the earth.”
19 – One way to test a governmental system is to simply open up the gates. Do people run in, or do they run out?
20 – Beautiful verse! Don’t hang down your head, we are not cast off!
20 – “We are upon an isle of the sea.” The Hebrews considered anything they had to cross an ocean to get to as an “isle of the sea” (see Book of Mormon Student Manual, 1989 edition, page 20).
23 – Prophets see things so clearly! We are free to choose everlasting death or eternal life. This ought to be the ultimate “no-brainer.”
24 – After we reconcile our will to God, we are saved by grace
25 – Interesting verse! May God raise you from death by the “power of the resurrection;” from “everlasting death” – by the “power of the atonement;” Think of the sacrament: The bread, represents Jesus’ body, and the power of the resurrection. The water, represents Jesus’ blood, power of the atonement.
Vickie West says
Is there a charge for Brother Bytheway’s email subscription?
Loving these blog posts. This last one “O how great the goodness of our God!” was one of the best study sessions I have had and the content in your blog helped deepen my understanding! Thank you!
Jen Madsen says
Thanks for your insights! I especially loved 2Ne 10:25. Interesting verse indeed!
Randell Mugleston says
The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use this idea as part of the lesson.