2 Nephi 6

2 Ne 6:2 I, Jacob, having been called of God, and ordained after the manner of his holy order

When Jacob was still young, he received his calling directly from the Lord. Lehi explained that Jacob had seen the Lord, thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory (2 Ne 2:4). This is a good example of a prophet who received his calling directly from the Lord, And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron (Heb 5:4). Because of his righteousness, he was ordained after the manner of his holy order.

The phrase "his holy order" is reminiscent of the full name of the Melchizedek priesthood, or the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God (DC 107:3). This was the priesthood held by the Nephites. Although there were descendants of Manasseh (Lehi), Ephraim (Ishmael), and Judah (Mulek) among the Nephites, there was not any of the blood of Levi. Therefore, they did not hold the Levitical or Aaronic priesthood.

Bruce R. McConkie

"It should be noted that those consecrated priests and teachers among the Nephites were not receiving offices in the lesser priesthood, for there was no Aaronic Priesthood among the Nephites from the time Lehi left Jerusalem down to the ministry of Christ among them." (Mormon Doctrine, 776)

2 Ne 6:4 I will read you the words of Isaiah

The Bible Dictionary states:

"Isaiah is the most quoted of all the prophets, being more frequently quoted by Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John (in his Revelation) than any other O.T. prophet. Likewise the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants quote from Isaiah more than from any other prophet. The Lord told the Nephites that 'great are the words of Isaiah,' and that all things Isaiah spoke of the house of Israel and of the gentiles would be fulfilled (3 Ne 23:1-3).

"....The reader today has no greater written commentary and guide to understanding Isaiah than the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. As one understands these works better he will understand Isaiah better, and as one understands Isaiah better, he more fully comprehends the mission of the Savior, and the meaning of the covenant that was placed upon Abraham and his seed by which all the families of the earth would be blessed."

2 Ne 6:5 Isaiah spake concerning all the house of Israel

One of the major themes of Isaiah's writings is the gathering and restoration of the Jews in the latter days. This may be because he spent so much time prophesying of the imminent destruction of the Northern Kingdom, that he longed for a better day-a day when Israel would again be blessed and protected by the Lord. This blessing won't come to full fruition until the Lord himself sets his foot on the Mount of Olives and begins to fight Israel's battles.  Therefore, the writings of Isaiah are full of hopeful, optimistic, and happy representations of what things will be like in that day when the Lord saves Israel, The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb...the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord...the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light...Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim...they shall beat their swords into plowshares...he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy...the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads...they that wait upon the Lord shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint...with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee...Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

2 Ne 6:6 I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard

"The Lord prophesied through Isaiah that in the last days he would set up his standard to the people of the earth. This 'standard' evidently refers to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as is indicated in this statement by President Marion G. Romney:

This Church is the standard which Isaiah said the Lord would set up for the people in the latter days. This Church was given to be a light to the world and to be a standard for God's people and for the Gentiles to seek to. This Church is the ensign on the mountain spoken of by the Old Testament prophets. It is the way, the truth, and the life. (Conference Report, April 1961, p. 119)" (Daniel Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 135)

2 Ne 6:6 they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders

Jacob begins quoting Isaiah from the end of Isaiah 49. This chapter was recorded in its entirety in 1 Nephi 21. Jacob begins by quoting verses 22-23 and then commenting on them. Nephi also gave an explanation of their meaning in 1 Nephi 22:6-9. Nephi explains that this prophecy has both a temporal and a figurative, or spiritual, meaning. The temporal meaning is that the Gentiles will gather the house of Israel to the lands of their inheritance (1 Ne 22:6). The spiritual meaning is that the gospel will be restored through the Gentiles and be taken to all the house of Israel:

The Lord God will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles...And after our seed is scattered the Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the Gentiles, which shall be of great worth unto our seed; wherefore, it is likened unto their being nourished by the Gentiles and being carried in their arms and upon their shoulders...unto the making known of the covenants of the Father of heaven unto Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

2 Ne 6:8 those who were at Jerusalem...have been slain and carried away captive.

Although the dates cannot be known with certainty, the following is an excellent quote about the stages in which Babylon sacked Jerusalem:

"Bible scholars recognize two great deportations. The first took place in the year 596 B.C., four years after the departure of Lehi from Jerusalem. Lehi was then about half way through the desert journey, which lasted eight years in all, and Jacob must have been a baby, since he was born in the desert. Lehi may have had a vision of this deportation. If so, he would certainly have related that vision to his family many times.

"On this occasion Nebuchadnezzar carried away King Jehoiachin and family, the Prophet Ezekiel and thousands of nobles and craftsmen. He destroyed the sacred vessels in the temple and looted the treasuries. And, finally, he appointed an uncle of Jehoiachin, Zedekiah, king in Jerusalem. (2 Kings 24:10-14)

"The second deportation took place in the year 586 B.C., ten years after the first. On that occasion all monumental and otherwise valuable buildings in Jerusalem were destroyed by fire. Everything of value was carried to Babylon. Some of the children of Zedekiah were cruelly butchered before his eyes, and that was the last thing he saw, before his eyes were put out. Gedaliah was made ruler in Jerusalem.

"As near as can be judged from Book of Mormon chronology, Lehi had passed away at that time. The Nephites had established themselves as an independent colony, and Jacob and Joseph had been appointed priests and teachers. (See 2 Ne. 5:28) It is more than probable that the Lord gave Jacob a vision of this second deportation shortly after it had taken place in the year 586 B.C., as he gave Lehi a vision of the first deportation. The Prophet Ezekiel and the captives in Babylon were notified by a special messenger of the epochal event. (Ezek. 33:21)" (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 282)

2 Ne 6:9 the Lord has shown unto me that they should return again.

When the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, they killed many and others they took as captives to Babylon. Jeremiah clearly prophesied that the Jews would be captives in Babylon for seventy years and then they would return to their lands in and around Jerusalem, For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place (Jer 29:10).

2 Ne 6: 10 the day cometh that they shall be smitten and afflicted

It was not long after the Jews had hardened their hearts and stiffened their necks against the Holy One of Israel that severe destructions came upon them. This came because of their wickedness. That the Lord knew of impending destructions awaiting this wicked generation is seen in his comment to the weeping daughters of Jerusalem on the weary path to Golgotha, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children (Lu 23:28). He also taught that the temple would be destroyed, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down (Matt 24:2). Both of these prophecies had reference to the first Abomination of Desolation, or destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD. This was the beginning of a long history of afflictions that the house of Israel was to suffer.

Josephus is the fundamental historian of the Roman capture of Jerusalem. He records that the Roman soldiers would capture about 500 Jews a day, then crucify them all, "So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest; when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies." (Josephus, the Wars of the Jews, Book V, Chap. XI, v. 1) He describes a terrible famine:

"Then did the famine widen its progress, and devoured the people by whole houses and families; the upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying by famine; and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged...many died as they were burying others...while yet robbers were still more terrible than these miseries were themselves; for they brake open those houses which were no other than graves of dead bodies and plundered them...in order to prove what mettle they were made of, they thrust some of those through that still lay alive upon the ground...

"However, when Titus in going his rounds along those valleys saw them full of dead bodies and the thick putrefaction running about them, he gave a groan." (Josephus, the Wars of the Jews, Book V, Chap. XII, v.3-4)

Josephus, as an eyewitness to many of these atrocities, described them in gruesome detail. He records that many starving Jews deserted to the Syrians and Arabians for protection. However, some Jews had made a practice swallowing as much gold as possible prior to deserting. Josephus explains their terrible fate:

"Yet did another plague seize upon those that were thus preserved; for there was found among the Syrian deserters a certain person who was caught gathering pieces of gold out of the excrements of the Jews' bellies; for the deserters used to swallow such pieces of gold....when this contrivance was discovered in one instance, the fame of it filled their several camps, that the deserters came to them full of gold. So the multitude of the Arabians, with the Syrians, cut up those that came as supplicants, and searched their bellies. Nor does it seem to me that any misery befell the Jews that was more terrible than this, since in one night about two thousand of these deserters were thus dissected." (Josephus, the Wars of the Jews, Book V, Chap. XIII, v.4)

Josephus tallied the destruction suffered in this great war, "Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege, eleven hundred thousand." (Josephus, the Wars of the Jews, Book VI, Chap. IX, v.3) This great destruction brought the following conclusion from Josephus, "in reality it was God who condemned the whole nation, and turned every course that was taken for their preservation to their destruction." (Josephus, the Wars of the Jews, Book V, Chap. XIII, v.5) Such was just the beginning of sorrows for the Jews. They have been scattered and afflicted ever since. As Jacob wrote, they shall be scattered, and smitten, and hated (v. 11).

2 Ne 6:14 The Messiah...will manifest himself unto them in power and great glory, unto the destruction of their enemies

Great are the promises of the Lord unto the House of Israel. The crowning event in their history will be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He will come from the heavens in power and great glory to deliver Jerusalem from her enemies. By combining prophecies from different scriptures, we can see a clear picture of how Jacob's statement will come to pass:

   For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity (Zech 14:2).

   ...for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

   And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth (Rev 11:2-3).

   And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled (DC 88:95).

   And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south (Zech 14:4).

   And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?

   Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.

   And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king (DC 45:51-53).

   Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle (Zech 14:3).

   And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth (Zech 14:12).

   And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamon-gog.

   And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land (Ezek 39:11-2).

2 Ne 6:15 they that believe not in him shall be destroyed

Here Jacob is referring to the destruction of the wicked in the last days. The imagery of Babylon, the whore, and the great and abominable church are used to describe those who will be destroyed at this time. Revelation 18:2, 8 describes the destruction in a similar fashion, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils...Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

2 Ne 6:16 For shall the prey be taken from the mighty

Jacob returns to Isaiah 49. He will quote the last three verses of the chapter and move on to chapter 50.  The content of these three verses is fairly self-explanatory. The Lord will deliver the children of Israel from any affliction in the last days, even if they are imprisoned or taken captive by the mighty. Zechariah explains that one half of the city of Jerusalem will be taken into captivity during the siege of Jerusalem which immediately precedes the Second Coming (Zech 14:2). Release from this captivity is probably part of the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy.