2 Ne 9:1-54
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The relationship of Chapter 9 to the rest of Chapters 6-10 is discussed at Chapters 6-10.
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- 2 Ne 9:7: Infinite. The word "infinite" appears in the King James Version of the Bible just three times, and in each case it is the translation of a different Hebrew word or words. ("Infinite" does not appear in the KJV New Testament.) In Job 25, the Hebrew qets means "without end" and refers to the iniquity of the wicked. In Psalm 147:5, the word micpar means basically "innumerable" and refers in that instance to the understanding or wisdom of the Lord. In Nahum 3:9 a pair of words is used that literally mean "without border" to refer to the limitless strength of Ethiopia (land of Cush) and Egypt.
- 2 Ne 9:9: Combination. Webster’s 1828 dictionary says that a combination is an intimate union of several persons that has the purpose of bringing something about together.
- 2 Ne 9:13. The end of verse 13 says that after the resurrection people will have "a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh." This suggests that our knowledge is currently perfect. But it isn't, as affirmed by the following clause "save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect." An alternate punctuation might make the meaning more clear:
- "...having a perfect knowledge; like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect."
- 2 Ne 9:21. Verse 21 can be usefully cross referenced with Alma 7:11-13.
- 2 Ne 9:26. Verse 26 tells us that the atonement removes the guilt of those who don't obey the law because they don't know the law. We might have thought that such a transgression of the law doesn't require an atonement because the transgressor is not culpable. But it seems from the way Jacob understand the atonement that without the atonement such people would be guilty for transgressing laws they did not know.
- 2 Ne 9:45. Notice how the command to shake off our chains resonates with the previous verse (and its reference to other verses) to tie these things together.
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- 2 Ne 9:1-3: Why has Jacob read this passage from Isaiah to the Nephites? How will it help them to know that Israel will be restored in the last days? How could they apply this passage to themselves? How can we apply it to ourselves?
- 2 Ne 9:4ff: How is a discussion of the atonement an explanation of the passage from Isaiah? How are the two related? How does the prophecy of Isaiah typify the atonement? (Such things as bondage and redemption from bondage occur in both discussions. Thinking about how those are alike can help us understand the atonement better and thinking about the atonement can help us understand Isaiah better.)
- 2 Ne 9:7: What does Jacob mean by an "infinite atonement"?
- 2 Ne 9:7: Why is it that if we weren't resurrected we would become subject to the devil? What is the connection between Jesus' conquering of physical death and his conquering of spiritual death?
- 2 Ne 9:8-9: What would happen to us if there were no resurrection? Since there is a resurrection, what do we learn from v. 9? Does that teach us anything about the traditional Christian understanding of hell, where those not saved are punished by being eternally in the presence of Satan?
- 2 Ne 9:9: What are “secret combinations"? Does secrecy make a combination bad? If so, why? If not, why is it the modifier used here? How are secret combinations antithetical to the gospel? (2 Ne 26:22-28 discusses this.) What kinds of things might count as secret combinations today? beyond the things that we sometimes hear mentioned in very conservative political discussions? Given the definition cited in Webster's 1828 dictionary (see lexical notes below), can we be part of a secret combination without knowing that we are? How do we avoid such combinations? How did the Book of Mormon people avoid them, when they did?
- 2 Ne 9:10: When Jacob mentions “death and hell,” he seems to mean two things. (This doesn’t seem to me to be a repetition for emphasis.) What does he mean by “death"? What does he mean by “hell"? What does he mean by “death of the body"? by “death of the spirit"? How are these pairs of terms related to each other?
- 2 Ne 9:13: What is the paradise Jacob is talking about? What do we usually call it?
- 2 Ne 9:14: What kind of symbolism do you see in the contrast between guilt, uncleanness, and nakedness on the one hand, and enjoyment and the clothing of purity and the robe of righteousness on the other hand? Does reference back to 2 Ne 4:33 add any meaning to this verse? Why does Jacob identify himself with the wicked at the beginning of the verse ("we shall have a perfect knowledge of our guilt")?
- 2 Ne 9:18: What are the crosses of the world? Who are those who have endured those crosses? Does this verse and those that follow have any connection to the passage from Isaiah that Jacob read? Why is the cross an important symbol in the Book of Mormon?
- 2 Ne 9:21-22: Does this prophecy help us understand better the promises made to Israel by Isaiah? What does “hearken” mean? How do we hearken to the voice of the Lord? Is it possible to have faith but not to hearken or to hearken but not to have faith?
- 2 Ne 9:22: We often consider the Atonement to consist of two almost separate parts--the suffering for our sins to make possible repentance, and the resurrection to make possible immortality. However, v. 22 links the two by stating that the suffering of sins took place to make possible the resurrection. How does Christ's suffering make the resurrection possible?
- 2 Ne 9:23: This implies that we are commanded to have "perfect faith" in Chist--how do we obtain "perfect faith"?
- 2 Ne 9:24: What reason does this verse give for the damnation of those who refuse to repent? Why is that the appropriate explanation for this discussion? In fact, what are we to make of an explanation like that?
- 2 Ne 9:25-26: We sometimes speak as if the atonement is required because there is a law that God must obey. Does Jacob speak that way? What does he say? Who has given the law? Whose justice is it that must be satisfied?
- 2 Ne 9:28-33: What part of Isaiah’s prophecy do these refer to and amplify?
- 2 Ne 9:28-29: What kind of “wisdom” does Jacob warn against? What makes that supposed wisdom foolishness?
- 2 Ne 9:29: What does it mean to "hearken unto the counsels of God"?
- 2 Ne 9:30: How might a wealthy person "despise the poor"? How might a wealthy person "persecute the meek"? How might wealthy people have their hearts "upon their treasures"?
- 2 Ne 9:30: What does it mean to make treasure your god?
- 2 Ne 9:30: Why doesn't Jacob give the rich an out here in the same way he does the learned in v. 29? --Why doesn't he say here "to be rich as to the things of the world is good if they ..."
- 2 Ne 9:30: Why does Jacob warn the rich? Does he warn all of those who are rich or only some? What does it mean to be “rich as to the things of the world"? How much does one have to have to be described that way? Does this verse give us any understanding of such scriptures as Matt 19:21-26 and Mark 10:21-27? Together, vv. 29-30 seem to connect learning with riches. Why might they do so? What is the connection?
- 2 Ne 9:34-37: Does Jacob’s warning turn to a different kind of sin here? If so, what is the difference? What is the similarity of the sins of these verses to those of 28-33?
- 2 Ne 9:37: In what sense is this verse the culmination of the list that began in v. 28?
- 2 Ne 9:38: What does it mean to die in one’s sins? How do we avoid that?
- 2 Ne 9:39: Compare this verse to Rom 8:6 and 1 Cor 2:11-16. What does it mean to be carnally-minded? to be spiritually-minded?
- 2 Ne 9:40: When Jacob asks us to remember the greatness of The Holy One of Israel, what kinds of things does he want us to remember? What kinds of things which show that greatness did he mention in the quotation from Isaiah? What other things has he mentioned?
- 2 Ne 9:41-43: What do the various types or symbols Jacob use show us? How do they connect his prophecy to other prophecies, specifically to what he has quoted from Isaiah? Notice that Jacob once again connects learning and wealth in v. 42, as he did in vv. 29-30.
- 2 Ne 9:42: What does it mean to knock?
- 2 Ne 9:42: Where in LDS practice do we knock to enter into the presence of the Lord?
- 2 Ne 9:44: Might Jacob’s shaking of his garment have anything to do with 2 Ne 8:23 and 2 Ne 8:25, and 2 Ne 9:14?
- 2 Ne 9:47-48: What does Jacob imply about our feeling that we mustn’t ever say harsh things to one another? Under what circumstances would such harshness be permitted? How do we avoid using verses like this as an excuse for unnecessary and unkind harshness?
- 2 Ne 9:50: Jacob quotes Isaiah again (Isa 55:1-2). Isaiah’s words seem never to be far from his thoughts as he delivers his sermon. Why might that be? The connection between the two seems to demand that we think about the relation of what he says to what Isaiah says if we are to understand fully Jacob’s message.
- 2 Ne 9:50: What is the point of this verse? How does it relate to such things as Paul’s letter to the Romans where he teaches us that salvation comes by grace?
- 2 Ne 9:51: How does v. 50 help explain this verse? What is of value? What is free? What is of no worth?
- 2 Ne 9:52: What is the relation of this verse to the two that immediately precede it?
- 2 Ne 9:52: "pray unto him continually by day, and give thanks unto his holy name by night. Do you think that the day or night reference is task specific? Meaning, that we should be more "pray-oriented" ("ask-oriented?") in the day and then be more "thankful-oriented" at night?
- 2 Ne 9:53: In what sense is this a repetition of everything that has been said in the last several chapters? Does thinking in terms of types and shadows throw any light on this verse? Is Jacob drawing a parallel between covenants and condescensions? If so, what does that parallel teach us?
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- 2 Ne 9:7. Shayne M. Bowen, "The Atonement Can Clean, Reclaim, and Sanctify Our Lives," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 33–34. Elder Bowen taught: "The Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to each of us. His Atonement is infinite. It applies to everyone... It can clean, reclaim, and sanctify even you. That is what infinite means–total, complete, all, forever."
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