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Monday, April 27, 2009

2 Nephi 23

Read it HERE.

SUMMARY: Destruction of Babylon is a type of destruction at Second Coming--It shall be a day of wrath and vengeance--Babylon (the world) shall fall forever--Compare Isaiah 13.

FYI: There is a dual fulfillment of this prophecy (the destruction of Babylon). During Nebudcadnezzar's reign (around 600 BC, or the time of Lehi), Babylon was one of the most glorious cities in the world. In 539 it fell to the Medes and the Persians. By the time of Christ, Babylon was inhabited by a few exiled Jews, and a hundred years later it was completely desolate (and has remained that way since). This must have been a very sobering prophecy for Nephi to read, since Babylon was so great during his lifetime.

I thought it was interesting that this chapter talks in such depth about the destruction of Babylon--that is, until I read the chapter summary and realized that the destruction of Babylon symbolizes the destruction preceding the Second Coming. Then boy, did I open my eyes and pay attention!

The whole time I was reading this chapter, I kept thinking about the Nephites and the destruction that happened before Christ came. Ezra Taft Benson points out that"The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 3; or Ensign, May 1987, 4). Since this is also what this chapter on the destruction of Babyon is portraying, I thought it was an interesting comparison.

Here is a table I found that is outlining the events occurring in the Book of Mormon. It is long but it was interesting, so I am including it. Feel free to skip it :).

Prophecies and Events Recorded in Helaman 13–16

Prophecy or Event

Signs and Events that Will Precede the Second Coming

Helaman 16:1, 3, 6, 10

Strong righteous minority

1 Nephi 14:12; Jacob 5:70

Helaman 16:13–14

Spiritual outpourings and miracles

Joel 2:28–30; D&C 45:39–42

Helaman 13:22; 16:12, 22–23

Great wickedness

2 Timothy 3:1–5; D&C 45:27

Helaman 13:2, 6, 8, 10–11; 14:9, 11; 15:1–3, 17; 16:2

Rejection of the Lord’s prophets and their call to repentance

D&C 1:14–16

Helaman 15:4–11

Conversion of many Lamanites

D&C 49:24

Helaman 14:3–4

Prophecy of a night with no darkness

Zechariah 14:7; see also Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 287

Helaman 14:5–6, 20

Prophecies of signs and wonders in the heavens

Joel 2:30–31; D&C 45:40

Helaman 16:13–18

Denial of signs, wonders, and Christ’s coming

2 Peter 3:3–4; D&C 45:26

Helaman 14:21, 23, 26

Prophecies of great storms and other natural destruction

Revelation 16:18, 21; D&C 88:88–90

Helaman 14:24; 15:1

Prophecy of the destruction of the wicked

Isaiah 26:21; Malachi 4:1; D&C 1:9; 133:41

One verse I found interesting was verse 12.

Vs. 11: "I will punish the wicked for evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay down the haughtiness of the terrible."
Vs. 12: "I will make a man more precious than fine gold. . ."

What does this mean? Why is this included in this chapter when all the rest deals so forcefully with the destruction of Babylon? Well, I did some research, and these are the thoughts I had.

We learn all through the scriptures and from our modern-day prophets that Heavenly Father often takes us through a "refiner's fire" to help us become the people He knows we can be. He knows the things that will turn our hearts to Him, and He knows what it will take for us to truly change.

Right after verse 12, Isaiah says this: "Therefore, I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of Hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger." (emphasis mine.) It made me realize that this is the Lord's way of giving us a last chance to repent and turn our hearts to Him. In a way it seems counter-intuitive,but this final act strikes me as an act of mercy and love.

What do you think? Is it hard to remember in the midst of trials that they are merciful events in our lives? It is hard for me. What do you do to keep eternal perspective and remember how Heavenly Father is caring for you and shaping you so perfectly?

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