CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 24.
This chapter compares to Isaiah 14.
After the judgments in the last chapter, the consequences for those who do not choose to become covenant people, it is great relief and deep comfort to read of the mercy that comes to those who do choose to become covenant people.
“For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel” (verse 1). Here, of course, the names Jacob and Israel are symbolic of the covenant, and so this promise of mercy is for all who are of the covenant.
The promises in verse two have both temporal and spiritual meaning. It is a promise that these scattered people will one day be gathered again, and it is a promise that this entire experience of being scattered and then gathered is a type of our mortality. We had to leave the presence of our Heavenly Father to come to earth for mortality, but He promises to gather us back home again. He promises. That promise is His part of the covenant; our part is to keep up our end of the deal, to keep our promises, to behave like covenant people.
It’s like when you drop off children at school, and expect them to follow your rules until they get home again, even though they are away from home.
Heavenly Father has dropped us off at school, and expects us to behave the same as we would if we were still at home in His presence.
In verse three, He promises that the persecutions and oppressions of mortality will come to an end, that the hard part of mortality will finish. This, again, is both temporal and spiritual, with many layers to it. Primarily, when we are acting like the covenant people we are, He does lighten our load and help us even on the hard days. He wants us to have peace and joy. He wants us to enjoy life. There is also the layer of the reign of peace the Lord will bring with Him when He returns… following the calamities and increased catastrophes of the last days.
“And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall give thee rest, from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou was made to serve.”
He knows we have hard days. He knows mortality is not easy.
That’s part of the plan. It serves a purpose to teach us and shape us. The more we submit to that plan, the more shape-able and teach-able we are. The more teachable we are, the more joy we find even in those hard lessons, and the more peace we have as we experience them – even in the midst of those very hard days.
He promises Israel that Babylon will not win, even though Israel will very nearly be destroyed and certainly will be scattered. The people will say, “How hath the oppressor ceased!”, and they will rejoice in their freedom.
“The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet; they break forth into singing” (verse 7).
Then Isaiah tells the story of how Lucifer got kicked out of Heaven for trying to steal the glory from God:
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! Art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For thou has said in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet though shalt be brought down to hell…” (verses 12-15).
When Lucifer loses his power, so does his illusion of a kingdom fall apart, like a mirage that fades away. The people will say that’s what shook us all up? (verse 16). That’s what made the world a wilderness, destroyed cities, and kept people prisoners? (verse 17).
But when Lucifer is destroyed, there will be no burial (verse 20), which we know also because we know he has no body. He lost that opportunity when he got kicked out of Heaven. He and his followers missed the chance to come to Earth to receive bodies like the rest of us that chose Jehovah’s plan, and so with no body there will be no burial.
This has been part of the plan, all along.
“The Lord of Hosts hath sworn, saying: Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand – ” (verse 24).
So whether speaking of the spiritual conquering of Satan, or the temporal conquering of Babylon, the Lord reminds us that He will win. It’s part of the plan, and He has promised it.
There is comfort and strength in this promise, for we know that no matter how bad things get, we already know the end of the story. The Lord is going to win, and everything is going to be okay. Knowing the end of the story helps us keep doing what we are asked to do.
“This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth…” (verse 26).
The whole purpose of Earth was for us to come here to receive our physical bodies, to be organized into families, and to learn to make good choices (that demonstrate our love through obedience). That’s the plan. He has not forgotten us, and He has not abandoned us. He is ever present, helping us fulfill our purpose.
The Lord has done His part, which was to atone for us, and we must do 0ur part, which is to testify of that atonement. That’s how Zion is established, and “his people shall trust in it” (verse 32).
Because He promised.