CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 23.
This chapter compares to Isaiah 13.
Isaiah’s “burden” in this chapter (verse 1) is a burden of a message. It is the prophecy that he carries to the people. It is the message he delivers to the people from the Lord. This burden-message is notice that judgment has been declared, and the consequences are in process of unfolding. It is like the judge reading out the sentence at the end of a trial, excepting that the Lord is always inviting us to repentance – that’s why He sends the messenger, the prophet, instead of just carrying out the sentence right away. He always – because He has promised to do so – He always sends a prophet to warn us before judgment comes.
This is Isaiah being doing his prophet-ness, giving the final warning to the people.
And it is gruesome.
It reminds me of the second to the last paragraph of the Family Proclamation, in which the Prophet and Apostles declare:
We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
That is a “burden”.
That is a burden-message which says, if you don’t repent, it’s gonna get ugly.
And we are seeing already, how as “the world” escalates, so do the consequences or “calamities”. This is why we have a Prophet who warns us, waiting for us to repent and return to being at-one with our Heavenly Father as made possible by the atonement.
Verse 2 is powerful. A “banner” was a standard or symbol of the King. The “high mountain” is the Temple. So we have the standard (symbols and tokens and laws) being lifted in the Temple, raised up and acknowledged. Then a voice that exalts unto them and shakes their hand, so “that they may go into the gates of the nobles”.
This is a gathering of His people, a gathering of His house.
And there will be a great noise, a “noise of the multitude in the mountains”, as His people are gathered and celebrating and rejoicing.
But those who are not His covenant people – or not living like it if they say they are – will be warned, are being warned now. The consequences, calamities, and disasters promised for the latter-days are happening now. It has already started. “Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is at hand” (verse 6).
The Lord’s people need not be afraid.
But those who are not His covenant people shall “be faint, every man’s heart shall melt” (verse 7). “And they shall be afraid; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames” (verse 8).
These flames are the lightning-fires of Elijah.
This is the same lightning-fire that will “destroy the sinners therefore out of ” the earth (verse 9).
This is the same lightning-fire that will happen when the worlds are moved back to their places (verse 13).
Isaiah then goes on to describe not only the destruction and scattering that will come when Assyria takes over, but also the horrific scene of Babylon taking over (verse 16-19).
Yet to those who repent, He will be merciful (verse 22).
It’s a promise.